Re: "neither side was short of a few shekels"
Well done to El Reg for accepting they made a mistake.
224 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007
That's old wire coat hangers. He'd bend one into a diamond shape, then hang it from his finger with the hook at the bottom. Then he'd balance a coin on the tip of the hook, and start to spin the coat hanger round, with the coin staying balanced there. While doing this, he would fetch a broom or window pole, and balance it on his chin and walk around the lecture room. The point was - so he said - to illustrate the difficulty of finding a basis to simultaneously diagonalize two matrices.
Old April Fool's joke:
Get a sheet of Letraset letter transfers (remember them?)
Cut it up into individual letters
Stuff them into the serial or parallel connector on the printer
Simulate a printer fault.
When someone reports the fault, tell them it's probably a printer jam. Take them along to the printer and pull the plug out...
Easy enough to replicate in C (sorry, I don't know how to make it come out in a reasonable format here):
double nan = 1.0/0.0 - 1.0/0.0;
if(nan > 0)
else if(nan < 0)
else if(nan == 0)
.. as a schoolboy in the 1970s. We were allowed to use Birmingham University's ICL 1906A, mostly for Fortran and Algol 68 programming. I wrote a macro (= shell script) that recursively created subdirectories, just to see how many could be created. Apparently the operating system only allowed a limited depth of directories - 64 perhaps - and the macro exited with no harm done. Until the overnight accounting program ran, which had a much smaller limit on the level of nesting it could handle, and crashed.
When I got to school the next morning I was summoned by a teacher who had been contacted by the university, and was sent to the university computer centre to explain myself. Their main interest seemed to be in why I had done it, and they accepted my explanation of innocent curiosity.
This is a real question from the UK driving theory test:
You have been involved in an argument before starting your journey. This has made you feel angry. You should
a) start to drive, but open a window
b) drive slower than normal and turn your radio on
c) have an alcoholic drink to help you relax before driving
d) calm down before you start to drive
"Virgin Galactic’s previously said it expects to fly paid missions in 2018, but it’s unclear if that remains a feasible deadline."
Or as the BBC reported in 2008:
"The Virgin system ... has been increased in size to take eight people at a time on a sub-orbital trip, starting in 2010."
The better compressed a radio transmission is, the harder it is to distinguish it from random noise. A DVB transmission looks more like noise than an analogue one, for example.
We will only be able to detect transmissions from civilizations that have not yet developed efficient compression algorithms.
We had a PDP 11/40 with 32k (words) of core and 96k of semiconductor memory. On one occasion decorators pushed the Big Red Button by mistake, shutting off the power. When we turned it back on, the system resumed (because the OS was all in core), but the programs in higher memory all crashed immediately.
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