* Posts by Xiox

13 posts • joined 13 Jan 2017

Watch this: Ingenuity – Earth's first aircraft to fly on another planet – take off on Mars


But is it?

The Soviets had the Vega 1 and 2 missions which were balloons which flew on Venus back in 1985. According to pilots on the internet, a balloon is an aircraft, so I think these have this Mars helicopter beaten (if that definition is correct).

Travis CI complains of 'significant abuse' of its free deal, creates new pricing that has developers riled


Re: Dammit, Travis

You can do Mac builds for free on Github Actions or Azure Pipelines for open source projects.

Check out the night sky in all its X-ray glory: Everything from hot gases to supernovas and massive black holes


Labelled image

Here's a nice labelled version of the image: http://www.mpe.mpg.de/7464825/erass1_annotated-1592554887.png

The ultimate 4-wheel-drive: How ESA's keeping XMM-Newton alive after 20 years and beyond


Re: The mirrors, the mirrors

You can switch instruments in an X-ray telescope, like in Chandra. There's a cost associated with doing that, however. The fewer moving parts you have in space, the better, because of reliability. It's also a lot cheaper to have a more simple mission. However, switching instruments can be beneficial. You can move the instrument module (like Chandra), or move the mirrors, like the future Athena mission is planning.

For a mission, it may also be cheaper or easier to build multiple telescopes, rather than one big telescope. The choice of number or size of mirrors also affects its performance at different energies, so there is optimisation for the type of science you want to do.


Re: The mirrors, the mirrors

I could tell you there are three telescopes because there are three main instruments - EPIC-pn and two EPIC-MOS (EPIC=European Photon Imaging Camera). pn and MOS are two different types of detector. These detectors give imaging capability with lower resolution simultaneous spectra.

In fact, it's a bit more complex than that. Half the light from the two EPIC-MOS cameras is split using a reflection grating and passed to the RGS instruments (RGS=Reflection Grating Spectrometer). The RGS give high resolution spectra of bright X-ray sources. There's also the UK contribution, which is an ultra-violet telescope, the optical monitor (OM), which also observes what XMM looks at. Unfortunately that UV telescope has never been used much because it has a few issues.

Grab a towel and pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster because The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 42


Re: fun facts

How do they translate Belgium?

Stand back, we're going in: The Register rips a 7th-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon apart. Literally


Re: Glossy screen?

My X1 Carbon Gen 6 definitely has matte screen. I assume this is an option?

Move along, nothing to see here: Auditors say £100k grant to Hacker House was 'appropriate'


Tom Watson has a look at the application here: https://twitter.com/tom_watson/status/1189986590933880832 - it's pretty shocking. She actually writes in the application "I have no idea if I'm answering this right?".

Hands off our phones, says Google: Radar-gesture-sensing Pixel 4 just $999 with a 3-year lifespan – great value!


Sounds like the sub-ether radio in Hitchiker's Guide, where you had to sit infuriatingly slowly not to change channels: http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1329

A loud clatter of gunk music flooded through the Heart of Gold cabin as Zaphod searched the sub-etha radio wave bands for news of himself. The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive--you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.

Zaphod waved a hand and the channel switched again

Clutching at its Perl 6, developer community ponders language name with less baggage


Re: add a proper string type in C

No - don't use wstring unless you have to, as it's mostly broken. You'd either need 32 bit characters for the whole of unicode (on linux), wasting enormous amounts of space, or encode things into 16 bit characters (on windows). For example: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/11107608/whats-wrong-with-c-wchar-t-and-wstrings-what-are-some-alternatives-to-wide

Instead, the best approach is to use std::string, and encode everything as UTF-8.

All change at NASA while Proton launches and India's Moon dream suffers a snag


Re: Question

I'm actually involved with this project (on the science rather than hardware side). It's actually quite hard to keep cool in space due to the lack of air and convection. One side of the telescope will always be heated by the sun and the detector electronics produce heat. One of the big efforts of design for eROSITA was the heat pipe system which cools the cameras passively (search for a PhD thesis if you're interested). There are radiators on the side of the telescope away from the sun to radiate the heat into space. The CCD cameras are kept cool to prevent degradation by high energy particles.

Royal Bank of Scotland culls 1 in 4 branches, blames the interwebz


Re: last bank visit

We won't even need to go in for cheques soon. They're bringing in a service to pay in cheques by photo in the next year.

Lloyds Bank customers still flogging the online dead horse


Re: halifax not working

You're lucky - it usually takes 2 to 3 days here for a transfer here in Germany. This is for a country who prefers using bank transfers to using credit and debit cards online. I've experienced that for an internal bank transfer too. It's not only the UK who has terrible banks.


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