* Posts by Rocketist

36 posts • joined 28 Sep 2015

5G signals won't make men infertile, sighs UK ad watchdog as it bans bonkers scary poster


Infertile or inf...?

It appears 5G is making some people maybe not infertile, but rather infantile. Possibly including some commenters, but certainly those who believe it‘s more harmful than walking your dog.

Politicians fume after Amazon's face-recog AI fingers dozens of them as suspected crooks


Re: Repeat this against a set of US tech entrepreneurs

Oh no, the false-positive rate would exceed 100%!

BTW: Does the AI actually stop when it's reached an identification? In that case we don't know yet, but it might well match a single innocent face to more than one criminal.


Re: Predictive

Maybe the average member of Congress has a similar physiognomy to a certain class of criminals?

I seem to remember there was a study about a year ago where certain behavioral patterns could be predicted from an analysis of the person's features; something that has been suggested in the 19th century but vehemently (and rightly) criticized by most serious scientists ever since.

Geoboffins baffled as Ceres is crawling with carbon organics


Re: It's life Jim, but not as we know it.

Or the unburied remains of the poor aliens who made that crater when they crashed into Ceres. On their way home from here probably.

NASA demos little nuclear power plant to help find little green men


A small fission reactor?

Just what's needed in my lakeside carport for the Tesla!

Now, imagine if that little line of text had "us" instead of "iss", that would be nice.

Breaking up is hard to do: Airbus, new bae Google and clinging on to Microsoft's 'solutions'


"Not be generally mass-migrated"

...probably means that the average user of those 130.000 has stored emails of their last 15 years, at a rate of around 50 mails a day, without ever deleting anything, and Enders thinks there might be a little storage space saved there.

What Airbus appears to be saying is they'll give users a chance to forget all of this junk, and possibly extract and save those mails that actually still have any significance. Say the one with the cookie recipe, the one that has Fred's address in it that the user never learned to copy into their own contacts, and the one with that specific detail about project XY the user wanted to remember, or use as a template. Then again, don't quote me on this.

Fun fact of the day: Voice recognition tech is naturally sexist


High pitch, accents, background noise -

If all of those make it difficult for ASR systems to do their job, it might be they‘re no better nor worse than mere humans. I sometimes find it difficult to understand people talking eith an accent - remember a London cabbie saying what sounded like „o‘rite mite“ when apparently they meant „alright mate“. It can be hard tounderstsnd, no doubt.

Obviously with the accents a possible solution will be to train the ASR with all sorts of them, and possibly add some better heuristics for short phrases. With voice pitch, a higher frequency should carry fewer overtones in the audible spectrum, so maybe the signal quality really is worse. The test case for a fair comparison would be high-pitched male voices. Say boys. And f it‘s so, the AI will simply have to increase its effort with the pitch of the voice. As we do.

Airbus ditches Microsoft, flies off to Google


Re: Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

I‘d venture to state Microsoft is a US company, just as much as Google.

Long haul flights on a one-aisle plane? Airbus thinks you’re up for it


Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

In the Golden Age of flying, you'd cross the Atlantic in a narrow-body airplane; say a Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8 or (sigh) Vickers VC-10. All of which had narrower fuselages than the Airbus A320 does, and still had six seats in a row.

HOWEVER, the seats in that golden age were spaced much further apart (up to ten inches more than today, except with "some" airlines) and the boarding procedures, cabin crew, and meals were all up to the standards expected by a 1960's air traveler. Then again, so were the fares.

Might have posted this before, sorry in that case.

Voyager 1 fires thrusters last used in 1980 – and they worked!


Space is good for you sometimes

Just imagine: After 37 years, the seals on those thruster valves still opened without damage, and held tight again. Wouldn't want to rely on that with a faucet that hadn't been used since 1980.

Just shows what you can do when there's no stupid oxygen or light around.

Apple hauls in $52.6bn in Q4, iPhone, iPad and Mac sales all up


Re: What is the point of the cash pile?

Oh dear, AppleTalk. Almost as good as ApplePie :-)

Nay, there's two main things you can do with a pile of money: Prevent yourself being bought, or buy someone or something else when the need arises. With the current global economic and political climate, it can't be long before the first sovereign state puts itself up for sale to a corporation. That would make a great offshore base for Apple!

They could fund the US space program for like 15 years.

End world hunger (maybe).

Gold-plate the entire Apple campus and every street in Cupertino, with lots of cash to spare.

Fix the US public health system. Just kidding.

Or simply buy BMW, just for the fun of it.


Re: New stuff

The thing is, pro computers, and Macs in particular it seems, are being used for longer than they used to, at least in most office applications; so users will be prepared to wait a bit.

Remember those days we couldn't wait for a 68030, or later PowerPC 603, because they'd really speed up our work, and in some cased would open up possibilities never imagined before. Now all but the most power-hungry users can work with a seven-year-old Mac and all the pain they endure is a very occasional waiting time.

Flying electric taxi upstart scores $90m from investors


Another delightfully wacky German aerospace project

And once more, one that might theoretically, given some not-totally-unimaginable advances in technology, have a chance to one day work. Continuing a proud tradition there, but I'll still not invest my money in it, nor hold my breath.

Might try and get the T-shirt if they have any.


Re: Batteries?

There was s French VTOL Mirage in the 60s that could take off and land vertically, and reach supersonic speed. Unfortunately it couldn't do both safely in the same flight.

I suspect this case might be similar.

China: Cute Hyperloop Elon, now watch how it's really done

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Re: Pressure suits?

People, get your systems engineering right.

Linear acceleration could be similar to an airliner on take-off; a bit uncomfortable but nothing worse, although as someone mentioned above, it'll take a loooong distance to accelerate to top speed.

Breaches of the tube will "only" be a problem if a) they occur within the emergency stopping distance of the capsule, and b) they include a breach of the rails, or misalignment of the two broken-apart tube sections. In all other cases, it'll be an emergency stop and ticket refund; but in that combination it'll be a disaster.

Quite another topic, however, is turn radius. By my quick BOTE check, in order to keep centrifugal acceleration to an acceptable level at speeds of 1100 m/s or so, you'd need a curve radius of several hundred kilometers - the exact value depending on what you consider "acceptable". That means we're essentially talking arrow-straight tubes; which even in China would place a fantastic burden on the poor civil engineers tasked with routing the system.

Dirty carbon nanotubes offer telcos chance at secure quantum comms


The di-- what?

“The diazonium reaction chemistry allowed a controllable introduction of benzene-based defects with reduced sensitivity to natural fluctuations in the surrounding environment.”

Sounds a bit like "the dilithium reaction chemistry allowed a controllable introduction of defects which results in an field inversion in the surrounding..."

Where's a Star Trek icon when you need one?

Polls? How very 2016. Now Google Street View AI scanner can predict how people will vote

Black Helicopters

Sometimes the blindingly obvious is all it takes

Apparently the Trump voting campaign knew exactly which neighborhood to target with which slogan, on what channel. They could have got this targeting accuracy by letting 150 analysts go over the most recent ACS results for a month; or by letting maybe 5 people do it in a few days, based on multi-source information, like cars and tweets, with the help of serious computing. They chose the latter and got successful.

To me though, it's eerily "The Circle"-like; it's as though anyone with enough data analytics knew you like your long-time neighbor does, maybe better; and you don't even know who they are, or why you keep reading what they want you to read on Google news. Kinda scary.

LUNAR-CY! SpaceX announces a Moon trip-for-two it'll inevitably miss the deadline on


Re: Crew?

No, Musk said the flight would be fully automatic. That's actually not very hard to do (speaking in relation to other rocket-science feats) as long as everything goes exactly right, and the options are limited anyway if it doesn't.

Trump lieutenants 'use private email' for govt work... but who'd make a big deal out of that?


What? Hypocrisy?

"Senior members of the Trump administration have been accused of blatant hypocrisy"

Seriously now, El Reg, since when is that news?

Privacy is theft! Dave Eggers' big-screen takedown of Google and Facebook emerges


If the movie can catch the eerie feeling of the novel -

it'll be worth watching. But then it probably won't, as that was a bit too eerie for the general movie public. Beer to fortify yourselves.

LASER RAT FENCE wins €1.7m European Commission funds


Soooo... it's the Raxit!

But wait - 40W? What do you do with all those blind rats and birds?

And more so, what happens when little Johnny comes creeping below the garden fence, looking for a bit of fun, and suddenly has a laser-like enlightening experience?

Mine's the one with the dark glasses in the pocket.

NASA starts countdown for Cassini probe's Saturn death dive


Alert to cloudspace violation durint saturnalia

Cloud traffic alert to all Saturnians: An alien-made object is expected to strike cloud top during the ides of September next year in the equatorial region; the precise impact location will be distributed later. Check back frequently for updates. The area concerned will be closed to all cloud traffic until the hazard is over.

Map to the stars: Gaia's first data dump a piece of 3D Milky Way puzzle

Paris Hilton

Re: Bit of a long-lens-paparazzo then...

Psst. don't tell anyone what plans ESA has to re-finance the bird after the end of its science mission!

Celebrities of the world beware, they'll count the hairs on your heads!

Paris 'cause she's.

Elon Musk says SpaceX Falcon 9 fireball investigation is 'biggest challenge yet'


Just out of idle curiosity-

Did Elon mention, in case anyone had anything serious to say about the event, where or whom to they should say it?

Jeff Bezos' thrusting cylinder makes Elon Musk's look minuscule


Size and shape!

Well that New Shepard sure looked a bit puny in comparison, even if it was quite suggestively shaped. New Glenn is kinda too smooth by comparison. And I still wonder what Bezos wants to ej... er, I mean, what sort of payload he's planning to inject into what sort of orbit, if that's the word?

Retired Philae lander slouches on Comet 67P


Re: Why not leave it.

Actually, that crash wouldn't bend a fender if Rosetta was a car. They're trying to set it down really gently; unfortunately though, for some obscure legal reasons apparently, they'll have to switch it off right after landing.

Anyway, I hope we'll at least get to see real close-up pictures of the ground.

EU verdict: Apple received €13bn in illegal tax benefits from Ireland


Re:at the end of the day...

You have a point there. As is so often the case, there's legal, moral, political, and business aspects to this case. The legal ones may just be clear, and if they are, the authorities *must* act on them. The moral and political sides are far murkier, and the business... We'll see.


Re: Of course, Ireland has already protested

That's actually the point. All the competition commissioner did was determine that one EU state had granted illegal subventions to two EU companies. Normally that's a clear case, and I'm not aware any of the previous similar decisions have ever been contended, let alone successfully.

Of course, with a big name and a seriously big amount of money involved...


Of course, Ireland has already protested

/Rant/ It's not like we can allow the rule of law to be applied like that, to all alike! /Rant off/

So this'll be a case for the courts. How much will the lawyers' fees be when the matter in question is a puny13 beeellion? And what LR units do we have for that? The price of 20 million iphones?

Jovial NASA says Juno flyby a success


Re: Exposure

Same way a photographer does of a passing boy racer with a V8. Follow the object by panning the camera (in this case the entire spacecraft).


All instruments trained on Jupiter -

Just as a side note, isn't "train" a wonderful word? It can mean:

- to point something

- to practice

- a thingy on wheels that gets pulled

I'm pretty sure I haven't found half the different meanings yet (no mind to check up on wiktionary or so). Just thought it all rather enjoyable.


A seriously souped-up V8?

Hmm, a boy racer with an engine turning at about 6 million RPM? Can't see what could possibly go wrong with that one! Who's for giving it a try?

Thumb Up

Re: Brilliant stuff.

Oh yeah, judging by the old fables (nay oral accounts), there's going to be a lot of cloud about Jupiter, as long as Juno is near!

Juno probe to graze Jupiter on Saturday

Paris Hilton

Gravity is always irresistible

She's got those eyes.

You can change trajectory but she'll never quite let you go. You got away from Earth but there's still the Sun. And then Jupiter. And the Milky Way itself. And all the time it's Gravity.

Paris 'cause there's no chocolate icon.

Watch six tiny robo-ants weighing 100g in total pull a 1,769-kg family car


Re: "they form into long chains and synchronize their footsteps"

They all sing in choir, and march in step. Popular ant working songs are Queen's "We are the champions" and "House of the rising sun" by, you guessed it, The Animals. Ants like the 6/8 time that goes well with six legs, but they don't like to waltz.

Anyway, I think they do it all with acoustics.

WATER SURPRISE: Liquid found on Mars, says NASA


Mud on Mars?

Better don't tell the children or they'll want to go and play in it! The last thing I need is to put a couple of muddy spacesuits in that washing machine.


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