* Posts by rg287

650 posts • joined 13 Apr 2018


Imagine a fiber optic cable that can sense it's about to be dug up and send a warning

rg287 Silver badge

Yes ti can be done, and has been done already for a long time in specific cases where the distance to be sensed is very small and the response is guaranteed to the rapid.

For anyone unaware, fibre optic has been wound around nuclear weapons in storage facilities for some decades (the tech was developed/refined in part for nuclear security applications). Of course they don’t care so much about measuring specific magnitudes - just passing a threshold. So much as bump the weapons rack and the vibrations will trigger a… robust response from the guardhouse.

Means if you get into the bunker undetected in the first place it’s almost impossible to so much as touch the weapons without tripping an alarm.

Particularly important in places like Germany where weapons might be hosted on a foreign base with a relatively small guard detail. The fibre trip can alert the local US base that someone is in the bunker and the troops might have been overcome so they can dispatch a larger force to assist/see what’s going on.

LA cops told to harvest social media handles from people they stop, suspect or not

rg287 Silver badge

Civilians? Yes, we are all civilians.

The overall goal is to funnel social media records and other data into a Palantir-built surveillance system, broadly monitor people, and identify connections between civilians members of the public.

Police are civilians, just like the public they notionally serve and protect (and in most western countries do a reasonably good job of).

Also, the subjects of interview cards are likely to include members of the military who were stopped whilst off-duty. So Palantir are likely identifying connections between civilians and military.

I know many Police agencies have a habit of using "civilian staff" to describe non-warranted/sworn personnel, but that doesn't mean they are not themselves Civilians. According to Police Vocab guidelines (ahem), Member of the Public is the appropriate term.

Guntrader breach perp: I don't think it's a crime to dump 111k people's details online in Google Earth format

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Conspiracy To...?

Thankfully, we have no registered firearms-owners database here in the US, so there's no list to be stolen and given to "perps".

You certainly do. State Databases of Concealed Carry Permit holders, the list of everyone FFL have done background checks against, anyone with an Illinois FOID card, users of gunbroker.

None of those are comprehensive, nor do they constitute a registry of who owns what. But they do all constitute a list of people with more than a passing interest in firearms. Exactly like this breach - which is a of guntradet users (where anyone can make an account, you might only dabble in airsoft or airguns - you don’t necessarily have a Firearm/Shotgun Certificate).

This exact scenario could definitely happen in the US, whether it was a private, state or federal database that got lost.

There’s also the list of NFA firearms which are registered and rather more closely monitored.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Stupid is as stupid does.

I also missed out the-enactors, S7 collectors and a bunch of others. It wasn’t intended to be a comprehensive list of all firearm uses.

* foxes are not pests

That depends rather on the fox. Depending on the local habitat and their wariness of humans, some foxes are quite content to look after themselves and keep away from people. If that’s the case then you would indeed be churlish to seek them out - if for no other reason than a new - bolshier - fox may move into the territory.

You shouldn’t shoot foxes for the sake of it, but when they start taking lambs or indeed pursue fowl in the daytime then they do indeed become a pest.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Facts?

The original csv was loaded with malware (namely a tracking pixel) for which the original hacker was banned from the hacking forum in question (which I’m sure has not stopped them signing up under another nom de plume). Consequently it only saw limited circulation.

By re-publishing (with instructions for importing to Google Earth) but - more importantly - inciting harassment of the people named in the leak, the perpetrator has quite probably committed separate and individual offences.

Obviously everyone is very concerned about the data being out there in the first place. But you won’t get the genie back in the bottle. People reformatting the data and inciting direct action/harassment is a new and independent offence, and is certainly not “raging against the superficial”.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: accessory before the fact

Given the incitement of direct action/harassment on the blog post:

Many of these people will be on this database, please do contact as many as you can in your area and ask them if they are involved in shooting animals, the database contains plenty of contact details.

There could be quite a strong case to accessory depending on *what* crime was committed.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: To be fair ...

I don't actually see why reformatting the data for Google Earth makes it any more accessible or dangerous versus its original form.

Removing a technical step is one part.

Presenting on an anti-fox-hunting blog (when most shooters do not ride out with hunts or even approve of such) and encouraging their readers to call up shooters and harass them is quite a different kettle of fish.

From the site:

Many of these people will be on this database, please do contact as many as you can in your area and ask them if they are involved in shooting animals, the database contains plenty of contact details.

It's the incitement to harassment (an invitation to direct action) that moves this from mere reposting to rather more dangerous rhetoric.

rg287 Silver badge

You don't have a gun in the UK for self defence. If you use one for such purposes, expect to find yourself in court.

You can't own it for self-defence. The case law on usage trends the other way.

I make it plain that, in my judgment, being shot is not mitigation.

If you burgle a house in the country where the householder owns a legally held shotgun, that is the chance you take.

You cannot come to court and ask for a lighter sentence because of it.

– (Judge) Michael Pert QC, September 2012

Of course this requires that you shoot in legitimate self-defence. If you shoot someone in the back as they flee then that's murder in pretty much the entire western world, including the US. But if you somehow have time to retrieve your gun from a locked cabinet then burglars beware. British case law absolutely entitles you to use it in self-defence as a weapon that "came to hand". Subject to the "reasonable and proportionate force" test of course.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Stupid is as stupid does.

I wasn't aware that fox hunters carried guns on their horses. Obviously there is some overlap on the venn diagram of fox hunters, game shooters and other shooters, but there will also be plenty outside it. As far as I'm aware the majority of shooters aren't hunters.

Traditionally not. These days of course all hunting is (at least notionally) drag hunting. The master or another officer of the hunt tends to carry a firearm in case the hounds pick up the scent of a live fox and depart from the drag scent. This allows them to dispatch a fox legally rather than letting the hounds on it unlawfully.

(Hunt Sabs would argue with the intent or sincerity of drag hunting, but that's not relevant to this aspect).

As you say, after counting out target and clay shooters, the proportion of firearm owners who hold firearms for hunting are almost universally those conducting pest control (including the shooting of foxes), wildfowling and activities such as deer stalking (necessitated by the local extinction of European wolves).

The overwhelming majority of shooters do not ride out with the mounted fox hunts. On a fox hunt only one rider (at most) will be carrying a firearm. Many riders will not own firearms or only have a shotgun for clay shooting. The venn diagrams touch, but only just.

Virginia school board learns a hard lesson... and other stories

rg287 Silver badge

Re: "DARPA wants an ekranoplan"

An aircraft enters ground effect ~1 wing-length (1/2 wing span) from the surface. The bigger your craft gets, the less sea state matters (albeit flying at 30metres in storm conditions poses it's own challenges, even if you're notionally clearing the waves). Launch/Recovery becomes the main challenge because sooner or later you have to drop back into the water (unless you build a runway down to the water's edge to enable land-based operations, but that brings its own challenges).

Nonetheless, Brittany Ferries are investigating a coastal-travel oriented passenger model from Boston-based REGENT for cross-Channel services. 180mph, no airport security. Certain Mediterranean operators are also expressing interest for island hopping.

Leaked Guntrader firearms data file shared. Worst case scenario? Criminals plot UK gun owners' home addresses in Google Earth

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Storage

especially since land parcels large enough for their safe use are disappearing as any free land is converted into housing.

Aside from the fact that 90% of the UK is rural, you would be astonished by some of the outdoor ranges operating quite safely for the past century in Central London. Borough of Wandsworth RC springs to mind.

There are indoor range operating in places as unlikely as the footing of London Bridge.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: "British Association for Shooting and Conservation"

Interesting read, and whilst I was perhaps leading to a worst-case model, he does sound like he's got lucky in not having too much rubbish in there to start with.

If you've got Himalayan Balsam or Knotweed then you simply won't be as hands-off as he's been. It will cost mega money and be an ongoing process to weed it out as the bits you've missed continue to flare up.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: "British Association for Shooting and Conservation"

Rewilding (another, much less damaging form of management that benefits a broad swathe of people rather than just a specific minority) is a far better option.

It certainly is. Now put your money where you mouth is. You'll require:

* Regular supervision to spot invasive species

* Teams of people to remove things like knotweed choking rivers and watercourses. This may be an annual job for the next couple of decades.

* Saplings and seeds for native species and people to plant them

Rinse and repeat for millions of hectares across the country. Rewilding is not cheap and doesn't just mean "letting it do it's thing". It requires active management if it's to be restored to a diverse and healthy habitat (not just knotweed and rhododendron).

Farmers provide this for free because it's good for ground-nesting birds. You're welcome.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: "British Association for Shooting and Conservation"

Makes you wonder how nature managed before firearms were invented

Or how nature managed before people.

Before people, nature wasn't overrun by monocultures of non-native invasive species. Investigate the diversity of species in a riverbank choked out by Knotweed and tell us how well nature is managing "without us".

Sadly, the nature of global trade has meant we are now stuck with a lot of plants - and some animals - which lack natural predators. Managing woodland could be achieved publicly if the government wanted to buy it all up and spend taxpayer's money on restoring it and keeping invasive species under control. This is astonishingly expensive, which is why your local Wildlife Trust relies heavily on volunteers.

Another way of doing it is for people to run profitable businesses within the woodlands. This might take the form of mountain biking or Go Ape. It might be game shooting. There is space for a diversity of activities.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Storage

They can now. Sort of. Prior to 2012 it was pointed out to the Home Office that it was bloody stupid making our Olympic Pistol athletes train in Switzerland (which was what they were doing).

The Home Office did a deal with British Shooting to issue Section 5 permits to upto ~20-25 nominated National athletes to keep their pistols in the UK, to be used only at specified Section 5 ranges which are locked up when shooting - i.e. a licensed firearms owners wouldn't even be allowed to be present (or shoot rifle) on the range whilst GB were training pistol in case they tried to steal the pistols (or something equally ludicrous). There are a half dozen S.5 ranges nationally, which is not ideal for regular training.

The issue of talent ID is also quite tricky. British Shooting have to take the people who are performing well on Air Pistol and then "give them a go" on Section 5. The disciplines are quite different however, so people who do well in one are not always the people who will do well in the other.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland didn't ban anything and still has a lower homicide rate than England.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Storage

My understanding is that only pest control firearms can be stored at home (locked cab etc) and the handgun stuff only at the range.

Not even close.

Handgun stuff went entirely in 1997 (bar muzzle-loaders and more recently the "long-barrelled pistols"). Justice Cullen did sort of propose that, stating in his Public Inquiry that there would be no benefit to prohibiting handguns and if such a draconian (his word) measure was to be taken, it should apply to individuals and not to clubs - i.e. you could go and shoot at a club and leave it there (unless, presumably, you needed to take it to competition that weekend in which case there would be a long list of exemptions and special conditions).

Anything people can actually own they have the option to store at their home address or at a club (if the club has secure storage available - many don't because they're very remote or just an outdoor range in the middle of nowhere without a clubhouse/armoury).

rg287 Silver badge

Re: No surprises here

vegan is just a slightly different variant of sociopath from serial killer.

Didn't need that last bit. "Direct action" under the "Animal rights" banner is often shorthand for "people hating", a thinly-veiled excuse for arbitrary thuggery, arson and rural crime.

It has nothing to do with veganism however - as the vegan snack van which regularly touts for business at... the National Shooting Centre can attest.

Think you can solve the UK's electric vehicle charging point puzzle? The Ordnance Survey wants to hear about it

rg287 Silver badge

I still feel we're in the "early adopter" phase, albeit much closer to the end of it than to the start.

It's a fair point to make. But as you say, we're much further along than people seem to think. The single, solitary reason I don't own an EV is purchase price. I have friends with EVs and if they were cheaper I would have one tomorrow. The average journey in the UK is 8miles. Average weekly mileage is 190miles.

They're already appropriate for most people, and home-charging is an option for most (>50%) households.

For the highway warriors and the terminally impatient who want to drive 5hours non-stop, then ICE and PHEVs remain an option (and will be past 2040, at least on the used market).

If public transport were a bit better and EVs were cheaper, we'd be a one-car household and it'd be an EV. As it is, we're a two-car ICE household, but that's not really by choice - and the same will be true of a statistically significant proportion of people.

Also notable is the crashing number of people bothering to get a driving licence. In the 1990s 48% of 17-20yr olds and 75% of 20-29yr olds held a licence. By 2014 that had fallen to 29% and 63% respectively (and has continued to drop). The world is changing and rushing around in cars is going out of vogue. Travel is slowing down a bit and that's no bad thing.

rg287 Silver badge

My parents live 15miles away. Inlaws 10. Granted my grandparents lived 200miles away. You can do that in a single stint in most EVs if you can drive 4hours without a break - I can't (let's face it, average speeds on today's roads rarely exceed 50mph). 20minutes for a stretch and toilet break will give you quite a lot of miles on a 100+kW fast charger.

We had university friends visit recently who we hadn't seen since 2019 due to *waves hands*. One couple came from Glasgow, the others from the south coast. By train of course, because who wants to drive those distances on a Friday night?

There are a few trips I make several times (in a normal year) which are ~160miles each way. That's easy enough 1-way in most EVs. Just need a bit of juice for the return journey. Having considered the routes, there are no fewer than 3 fast-charging opportunities plus destination charging. Charging would fit quite comfortably into my normal toilet-break routine.

We went on holiday in June. It was "only" 60miles, but to a part of the country we've not spent much time. Every car park we stopped at seemed to have one or more charging points and the holiday cottage had a (very new, probably unused) 7kW charger outside.

Cornwall is beautiful, but there's really no reason for the entire UK to try and cram themselves down there during August when you can save yourself a few hours and visit Herefordshire (proper cider), Shropshire (kind of like Wales but with smaller hills) or anywhere else really. On a bank holiday, the train to Betws-y-Coed will usually be faster than trying to drive. And you won't have to murder someone to win a parking space once you get there!

rg287 Silver badge

everyone with an EV seems to be complaining, that chargers are generally an unrealiable fuckup.

It's finny. I've seen similar sentiments on a couple of forums I frequent.

"EVs are no bloody use because I need to tow a trailer 400 miles and back in a day, blah, blah".

Someone who actually owns an EV then pipes up and says "well actually, it's fine for 364 days a year and when I do have to hang around at a services, it's only 10minutes longer than I would anyway because after 3hours driving I want a stretch and a coffee".

Cue everyone then piling in and telling them they're wrong and EVs are terrible.

EVs are fine for everyone except reps doing 20,000miles/yr. They're just expensive at the moment. Range anxiety is a virus cultivated by Clarkson et al. I'd have one tomorrow if they weren't so damned expensive.

rg287 Silver badge

The only challenge here is with the planners. Nuclear power is the only way forward. BTW.

It's not just the planners. A huge chunk of Hickley Point is EDF's cost-of-capital. If Government had borrowed the project could have been financed significantly cheaper than the rates EDF was able to secure on the commercial money markets - but hey, that's fine because "industry has taken the risk" (they haven't, we're all going to pay it back in energy bills, and nuclear is always de facto underwritten by the taxpayer anyway).

There are a bunch of issues. Planning and "just getting on with it" (instead of paying people to sit around while you do another review - see HS2) is one aspect. The Government leveraging their significant borrowing capability to secure cheap capital on behalf of business is another.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: A Modest Proposal

Shame you can't store it.

Says who? At this moment we're a bit light on storage capacity. It's easily saturated by excess wind events. But there's a plethora of pumped hydro startups and other technologies which are technically ready now and have 10-year deployment horizons, which is about what we need.

Pumped hydro is well understood, it just needs building. Electrolysis for H2 is in the works.

Compressing/liquifying air is also technically ready - Highview Power's 50MW plant in Trafford will be operational next year, which follows their successful pilot plant in Slough and larger demonstrator near Manchester. Compressed air of course is cheaper than batteries and doesn't call for many rare earths. Scaling is a matter of "add more tanks".

rg287 Silver badge

Re: @Alpine_Hermit

well thats not what the NG were saying last month.

That depends on how you read "As importantly, the current network cannot handle the extra load required."

The much-quoted factoid is that the Grid cannot cope with the draw imposed by domestic EV charging and you will get local substation meltdowns. This is largely incorrect. The Grid has a capacity of ~80GW. Peak draw in 2005 was 63GW, peak draw in the last two years has been ~47GW thanks to massively improved domestic and industrial energy efficiency, plus growth in embedded generation (mostly domestic solar).1 We're nowhere near the actual transmission capacity of the grid (notwithstanding local substations which may be more heavily loaded than others).

The NG have repeatedly stated that the Grid has enough capacity to charge EVs, and anywhere that doesn't will be upgraded over the next 10-15years as EVs become more common and ICE is phased out. It's not as though anyone is flipping a switch. It's a gradual growth and they have time to upgrade substations and distribution nodes as demand rises and individual town or neighbourhood capacity is reached.

Outright Generating Capacity is a different kettle of fish, and if we read "grid capacity" as meaning generating capacity then there is more of an issue. On average, we currently have a comfortable overhead for overnight charging. Winter peaks are starting to cause issues as we have been busy decommissioning coal plants and other dispatch-able generators. Realistically we will need more, but that's at least 10years away. Improved storage (probably pumped hydro) will allow us to store excess wind rather than turning down dispatch-able generators when the wind blows, storing that power for peak periods. We're not currently generating as much as we could because we have nowhere to put the excess power at slack periods. Hinckley Point C will also help.

The fact that NG have had issues with peak winter demand in the past couple of years should not be taken as an indication that we fundamentally can't charge EVs or are running out of power. Most of those problems can actually be met with storage rather than outright additional generation (although we shall require both).

It is also worth noting that the often quoted figures for car energy usage now look rather high. UK Road usage declined 22% last year. Obviously it will bounce back but it seems likely that there will be significantly increased WFH going forward, along with modal shift with increased local rail coming online over the next decade.

1. For instance, as a kid our home would regularly pull 1.5kW of an evening via 100W lightbulbs, the CRT telly and Pentium 4 space-heater. These days we're struggling to crack 200W with two adults working from home with 27" monitors. If I turn on every bulb in the house the lighting draw won't exceed 100W. The compressor in the fridge is far more efficient than those of the 80s, etc, etc.

More Boots on Moon delays: NASA stops work on SpaceX human landing system as Blue Origin lawsuit rolls on

rg287 Silver badge

Re: There's a bigger holdup in the works

Don't go outside - just dispatch a Tesla robot!

You're right of course, rockets are only one small part of going to the Moon or Mars. Life support, habitats, suits, etc, etc are all essential to staying there.

What's interesting about Musk's portfolio is that it's basically all about living off-Earth.


His initial interest in Tesla and SolarCity may have started as "save the planet", but a colony on Mars needs solar panels and electric vehicles. Now they've announce the Tesla Robot. The humanoid thing is a marketing gimmick but Moon/Mars colonies need robotics. So apparently Tesla are going to do that. And media are asking "Why would they build a robot?". As if Musk's businesses all sit in total isolation.


The Russians said he couldn't, so he did. Now he intends to die on Mars - hopefully (for him) not via litho-braking.

Boring Company

Reducing traffic? Don't make us laugh. There's a reason he's developing small-diameter TBMs powered by electricity instead of diesel - so you can launch them to Mars or the Moon to dig habitat/storage tunnels and radiation shelters. The current "Prufrock" TBM is designed to "porpoise" - digging from the surface rather than needing to be dug down into a launch-pit. Exactly what you need on Mars if you haven't got a bunch of plant machinery to construct a launch chamber. It also makes it far easier to turn around and launch again compared with most TBMs which are buried at the end of their drive. Then the brick factory on the back spits out building materials for surface structures. And the total diameter is easily accommodated by Starship.

Neuralink & OpenAI

What self-respecting billionaire wouldn't keep their hand in with AI. Especially once you're 8 light-minutes away and things like intelligent edge-computing become increasingly important.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Changing horses in the middle of the stream

BO might have been the ultimate winner given Elon's habit of overpromising and then going way past the deadlines so only worrying about making sure they were the second lowest bidder would have been fine.

Given that BO were supposed to start tourist flights in New Shepherd in 2019, and given that BO still haven't delivered the much-promised BE-4 engines to Boeing (who are planning to use them on Vulcan... when they show up), I don't think that Elon Time is something BO would want to emphasise too much - those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Elon makes ambitious statements. He also has the world's most sophisticated rocket engine (Raptor) in serial production and has most of an orbital-capable Starship/Super-Heavy stack in place. Blue Origin have been developing paper rockets for 21 years and don't have a test article to show for it.

If SpaceX go from drawing board to orbit in 5 years (with the major 2019 redesign when they dumped carbon fiber in favour of stainless steel) it will be a slap in the face for old-space. To be honest, everything they've achieved so far makes old-space look weak and unambitious.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: The next deadline for Blue Origin is 3rd September...

when you're testing experimental prototypes you want them to break at some point, if for nothing else than to find out what their real-world limitations are.

Absolutely. Interesting comment from Musk when giving a tour of Boca Chica to EveryDay Astronaut was that the root causes of all their Starship landing failures were things not on their risk list.

Now this could be taken a couple of ways. Maybe their risk listing process isn't very good - but they're a company who launch people to the ISS. They know rockets and rocket engines. They're probably pretty good at picking apart those issues.

More likely is that these are the sorts of edge cases and complex/cascade failures which may or may not show up during test-rig testing - depending on how well you've designed your test regime. Things like fluid mechanics are notoriously expensive to simulate, so the belly-flop maneuvre will have been very difficult to accurately simulate beforehand.

SpaceX's test regime is to throw a prototype out and see if it behaves as expected (plus a bunch of simulation no doubt to check it's not a completely stupid idea). This is expensive unless you are happy to fab up cheap test articles that are "good enough" to hold your critical systems together (for which there is precedent - like Apollo astronauts training on the flying bedstead instead of a full-size Lunar Lander mock-up).

Boeing's approach is to test in a computer and at a subsystem level and then do non-destructive integration testing, hoping that the finished article all works as expected. As we found with the initial StarLiner flight, Boeing's testing regime was garbage.

UK's competition regulator fires red flare over Nvidia's $40bn Arm takeover deal

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Far to late

We GAVE hundreds of billions of dollars worth of military training and equipment to the Afhgan Army so that they could protect themselves from the Taliban. This was after giving them billions of dollars in military equipment and support with more than a little American blood in a half-hearted attempt to rid them of the Taliban in the first place.

And much of that hardware was sufficently sophisticated that it could only be maintained by 16,000 civilian contractors who the US also provided (which is how foreign "military aid" works - thinly veiled state support for domestic industry). Kind of sounds like a few vendors we could all mention!

When the USA abandoned Bagram in the middle of the night without so much as a "fare thee well" to the Afghan Commander, the ANA came out to find they had an airfield full of complex aircraft they couldn't maintain or operate beyond the next 36 hours. Of course there were local techs being trained up, but the Afghan education sector had been... neglected over the past 30 years. They don't have that native industrial base to support the equipment and were still reliant on foreign expertise to oversee & train the technicians and sign off work. How long can you keep a C-130 going without manufacturer support?

At which point all their shiny, fancy gear was barely able to keep up with a bunch of thugs on a Toyota with a heavy machine gun.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Far to late

What you're asking for is some sort of industrial policy, where the government controls who can own what company - or some sort of security policy to stop ownership from foreign nations we don't like. Japan and the US are allies - so even there you're not really talking about a security barrier, so much as a foreign ownership barrier.

It's certainly an area that needs very careful thought and implementation (beyond most politicians).

That being said it would be nice if UKGov had an industrial policy. Particularly with respect to manufacturing, but also IP and services, rather than winging it on a case-by-case basis and largely letting the markets do what they like (until it all comes crashing down per 2008 and "lessons are learnt"... until the next time).

Not the sort of 1970s picking-winners industrial policy, but just a bit of a plan to support key industries (beyond inventing military projects to ward off the administrators) and grow strategic sectors.

Japan's aerospace agency hooks up with Boeing to make planes quieter when they land

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Owls

Less joyously, this sort of nonsense comes round every ten years. Last time it was Cambridge with some big aerospace boondoggle to develop silent flight. I think results so far are nil.

Nonsense? Boondoggle?

Nobody is trying to develop silent flight. that would be stupid and impossible. Any aircraft will move air out the way and generate some sound. They are simply seeking to minimise that. This is extremely useful research in the general sense since it furthers understanding of fluid dynamics, turbulence, vortices, etc which have broad ranging applications in many sectors.

Previous projects have improved things like the design of landing gear, which makes a measurable difference to landing noise.

Nobody is going to announce a new (magic) "silent" airliner. But the results of this sort of work feeds back into existing designs to incrementally improve certain components as you go from (say) the 737NG to 737MAX or A330 to A330neo. Older planes were louder than newer planes, and it isn't just down to the engines.

Apple's iPhone computer vision has the potential to preserve privacy but also break it completely

rg287 Silver badge

Re: It's simpler than that

One of the problems is that pictures of nude or seminude children is very different from country to country.

Sally Mann's "Immediate Family" (Wikipedia link) springs to mind.

Publishing 13 nude photos (of 65 in the collection) of her kids was controversial in 1992. In her case the argument is more over the ethics of publishing photos of her kids in that fashion and them growing up with intimate childhood photos in public circulation, in the same way there are concerns about parents oversharing their kid's lives on social media these days.

But it certainly wasn't pornographic, nor depicting abuse. But it would be a stonkingly sophisticated AI that could make such distinctions.

Zorin OS 16 Pro arrives complete with optional 'Windows 11' desktop

rg287 Silver badge

Re: The small market share of Chromebooks in businesses is puzzling

Find an organisation of 100 people who can actually all work on a chromebook. By the time you make exceptions for the people who need SAGE, Photoshop, CAD or software dev environments you're going to be running a fair number of Mac and/or Windows devices in addition to the people who live their life in word processors and spreadsheets.

And if you've ditched your AD environment then they're going to be largely unmanaged (albeit you can do certain bits of Endpoint Management using Google Workspace), but you're only swapping AD for Google Workspace IAM (meet the new boss, looks like the old boss) to protect against the aforementioned ransomware, etc.

This is why they're popular in education where kids predominantly need a browser and productivity tools, but less so anywhere else.

All your DNS were belong to us: AWS and Google Cloud shut down spying vulnerability

rg287 Silver badge

Re: ISP Routers

Unfortunately all routers I've had supplied by (mainstream) ISPs in the UK (& BE) over the past 10+ years have no ability to set DNS servers. DDNS yes, but that's not what we're looking for I think.

You can however often turn off DHCP entirely. My BT "Smart" Hub has locked DNS servers but I simply killed DHCP and run a PiHole (which can optionally serve DHCP as well as DNS). This without putting the router into "modem mode" because I didn't really want to buy a second router and access point - the -ac wifi on the SmartHubs is actually pretty decent and I already had an RPi lying around.

So I'm still using the router as a router, just offloading DHCP/DNS duties. Neatly, the RPi is actually powered off the USB port on the back of the SmartHub (which I think is notionally a way of sharing a USB hard drive or printer over the network). The hardware is pretty decent, just a shame BT's firmware is so limited.

Please, no Moore: 'Law' that defined how chips have been made for decades has run itself into a cul-de-sac

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Moore's law expired in 1975

Obviously if you are looking at desktop computers, a 10 year-old machine is still very usable, and the reasons you might want to upgrade it mostly relate to IO rather than the CPU.

Indeed. My "gaming rig", which I built as an educational exercise in 2011 still runs fine. It's had a new GPU and I swapped the 64GB SSD for 256GB, but that's enough for KSP and the odd bits I muck about with (no, I am not a "serious" gamer and my laptop is my daily driver!).

An i5-2500 is more than enough for most people. I've just set a sports club up with a couple of refurbed i5-4xxx boxes that cost £80 each. They run SUSE (to support a rather picky bit of software running some specialist measuring hardware). Quad-core and 4GB RAM is frankly more than they need.

Also worth noting of course that even a lowly i3-6300 will match the CPUMark score of an i5-2500k, and outright flatten it for single-thread performance. All for half the TDP.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Hardware Isn't the Issue

The M1 chip is an important step forward (it pains me to say this given as much as I detest Apple). I'm actually watching closely for a similar specced device that will run Linux which can't be far off because Linux has had ARM baked in for aeons.

It's surprising that it took this long. When 5G is properly rolled out, I won't need huge power in my laptop, as I will be able to establish a low latency connection to my 64 core server should I need the grunt.

It should be noted that the M1 isn't magic. Whilst it is undoubtedly quick, much of the initial speed improvement comes from the move to a SoC architecture rather than the architecture of the M1 chip itself. x86 would get a speed-up if you coupled the memory and storage as closely as Apple has with M1. Unfortunately outside the Apple ecosystem, general purpose computing demands some semblance of standardised buses so that hardware firms can mix and match components for different use cases and run reasonably standardised software without needing a new build for every hardware configuration.

Undoubtedly software support also plays a role such as macOS properly utilising the big.LITTLE architecture and ensuring that things like the UI and mouse always remain responsive, even if other processes are churning away.

Right to repair shouldn't exist – not because it's wrong but because it's so obviously right

rg287 Silver badge

That laptop is amazing and Linus was rightly very excited about it.

What I would say though is their options do encourage the pre-built model.

Linus states that if you order the DIY version it is $300 cheaper than the pre-build. But that price point is actually an unconfigured barebones laptop minus ram, storage, OS (if you want windows), power brick, wifi or any of the expansion modules.

The base pre-build model is $999, for i5-1135/8GB/256GB/W10Home.

Speccing the same laptop as a DIY comes to $1106, some assembly required...

All that being said, it's probably a small price to pay for the config flexibility that DIY gives you. If you want the base processor but 1TB storage then you can do that, which is simply impossible on a lot of new laptops. If you want the top processor and oodles of RAM for builds, but only need a small SSD then you can do that. And if you want it bare for Linux/BSD then you can opt out of paying for a Windows license, which is nice. And you might have components lying around at home which you want to use rather than buying new. The DIY route won't be any cheaper, but you'll get the laptop you want.

The UK is running on empty when it comes to electric vehicle charging points

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Hmm....

YMMV with different manufacturers but in many cases the battery is not part of the car's structure - the battery compartment is part of the structure, preventing things like battery-swaps on long distance journeys.

In the case of Tesla however, the batteries themselves are comprised of thousands of individual 4860 cells.

When the car is EOL the compartment can be opened, these cells can be removed and repackaged into PowerWall, UPS or grid-scale battery farms until they are truly knackered and then go for chemical recycling.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Will At Work charging continue?

Thinks like parking and workplace car charging _should be_ deducted from an employee's pay

That's not a policy you could enforce on a blanket basis though.

Plenty of people work on industrial estates and business parks with zero public transport provision and which should not have been granted planning permission for that reason (councils need to be a lot stricter with ensuring new employment sites are actually accessible by people without cars).

If you're in an urban area though where the parking means the beneficiaries are saving themselves £1000/yr on a season ticket to a local long-stay, then yes - that turns into more of a benefit-in-kind.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Will At Work charging continue?

I also wonder if there is a potential lawsuit brewing on the grounds of not treating all employees fairly. If you provide "fuel" for free to one set of employees (ie provide charging) then that does potentially mean you are paying someone less (as they have to pay for their fuel) for doing the same job as an EV owning employee.

That's possibly one of those things that gets written off into the general cost of doing business.

Back in the 90s my Dad had a company car (as was common before they taxed the bejesus out of them). The company fleet was diesel, meaning they could fill up from the tank that the trucks used (there was a car-rated pump next to it).

Notionally they were only supposed to do that ahead of business trips (they were also provided with a fuel card, but of course the company could bulk-buy cheaper than you'd get in a roadside station), and personal usage/commuting came out of their own pocket, which my Dad certainly did abide by. Nonetheless, it was perfectly common to fill up before a business trip which would require half a tank and not worry too much about the fact you weren't going to need to buy any diesel for the rest of the week.

Consider also that many staff walked into work. The company had spent a great deal of money buying land and paving out a car park for the car owners (as well as those with fleet vehicles). That effectively provided a subsidy or benefit for the drivers which did not materialise into a bonus for the walkers.

All that being said, I suspect employers will compromise and stand the cost of installing chargers but they'll be from a company like Ecotricity and staff will have to buy their own electric. In some cases of course the network themselves will cover the installation cost (or part of it).

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Elephant in the room

True, but irrelevant. You need to consider the total energy consumed per year by the transport fleet, and then work out where that energy is coming from. It doesn't matter if it's a 20 minutes fast charge, or an overnight slow charge, it's the total energy use that counts.

Not even slightly irrelevant. It is your comment which is valid but entirely off-topic.

Travel and Charging habits are entirely relevant to a discussion which started as "It is often conveniently omitted how long it takes to charge such car." Which is a misnomer because in normal usage the 99th percentile of drivers will never need to fast charge from empty. They're only tootling around locally.

T&C patterns are also relevant to the discussion of "But how will the grid cope". 20minutes at 400Amps or 8hours at 13Amps makes a significant difference when considering local supply/substation provision, cable diameters and peak vs. base loads.

What you're raising is the related but separate issue of overall generating capacity across the year, which is a bit naughty. To say that "it's the total energy use that counts." is simply wrong - do you want 50kWh supplied in an week, or in 20 minutes? Is demand flat or peaky? Having enough is important. Having enough at the right time even more so.

If everyone is charging overnight that will become peak time, and "Economy 7" will disappear.

Possibly yes. But you haven't explained how that is relevant to the discussion of:

"It is often conveniently omitted how long it takes to charge such car."

rg287 Silver badge

at which point you can choose to wait a bit for the delivery to complete

Wait where? The most convenient petrol station on my old commute was on the side of a 60mph A-Road and they coned off the entrance entirely preventing access to the forecourt when taking deliveries.

Yes, yes, in quieter residential areas you might be able to park up somewhere and wait out the delivery. But not always.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Elephant in the room

Makes you wonder why we're not all being encouraged to walk, cycle, or eBike, instead of buying shiny new cars.

Why indeed.

Interestingly in the Netherlands car ownership runs about the same as the UK. Although they have a healthy cycling habit and some excellent tram networks, they'll say "Well I'm not carrying my weekly shop home from the supermarket".

It's certainly a thing to move towards - cycle more for commutes or local travel, move towards one-car households and halve the traffic. Save the car for transporting shopping & goods.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Elephant in the room

75% of the population in affluent areas may well have off road parking

No wild assertions here. Solid facts and figures. I never claimed they were evenly distributed, and that is indeed a problem in itself (but also one which is reasonably assumed - e.g. city centres have many flats, few detached houses. I shouldn't need to spell that out).

But more than half of households are detached and semi-detached houses, which pretty much universally come with off-street parking. 27% of households are terraces. This is a bit of a toss up. If you live in a terrace like mine you have enough space to park one and a half cars where the front garden used to be, and there's a back roads to the garage at rear. Fitting a wall-charger at the front, or in the garage is a perfectly viable option. There are of course those terraces which open directly onto the street and have no rear parking. That's a tricky long-tail, but not relevant to the general direction of travel.

20.9% of households are in flats. Many city centre blocks of flats have no parking, but equally the block my partner used to live in had an allocated space per flat. Getting chargers installed would have needed the landlord to pull their finger out, but there was no physical impediment to the work. Just the mater of who was paying for it.

Yes, there are clusters - such as terraces in the valleys where there are no good answers yet. They'll be running dino juice cars till 2035, by which time public charging infrastructure will have developed - or ideally the number of cars in use will have declined thanks to the South Wales Metro pushing out and reducing the need for two-car households.

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Elephant in the room

And 25% of drivers not having easy access to home charging is a bloody huge number of people for whom EV ownership will continue to feel like a pipe dream whilst the availability and convenience of charging points elsewhere lags behind expectations/desires of people used to the ease with which an ICE vehicle can be "recharged"

There is indeed a long-tail of edge cases.

BUT - this is a 20+year process. In 2030 when sales of ICE-only cars end, you will still be able to buy a hybrid if you want. By 2040 there will still be millions of dino-juice cars floating around the used market.

We can already see supermarket and destination charging taking off. By 2030 it will be practicable for most people to simply charge whilst doing their weekly shop if they can't charge from home (more convenient than shopping and then stopping to fill up on your way home). In some places that is practicable now.

There are many wails of impending disaster, but cars that run on dino juice will be sold for at least another 14 years until hybrids start being phased out and will predominate on the used market for another decade after that.

rg287 Silver badge

You'd think for an IT site, commentards might have better memories.

EVs are being phased in over the next 15 years.

15years ago my parents were still on dial-up. Getting 4Mb off ADSL was extremely exciting. 802.11g was the hot new thing and if you were lucky you might get a signal in the room next to where the access point was.

Yes, charging infra is bad today. But it'll be better next year, and in 15 years the same smug people will be knowingly "predicting" how the next big thing is going to be a "disaster"...

rg287 Silver badge

Re: Not a uniform distribution

Either this has not been thought out or the majority of the populace is being wilfully written off.

Or people are wilfully being a bit intransigent.

Nobody is going to come along on Jan1st 2030 and replace every ICE car with an EV. Indeed, even after 2030 you will still be able to buy hybrids. It'll just be sales of new ICE-only cars which are banned.

This is a 20-year process. The idea that "it'll never work because charging infra is crap today" is lazy, unimaginative and/or deliberately misleading. 20years ago most of the country didn't have an internet connection and those that did were on dial-up.

rg287 Silver badge

When was the last time you got to a petrol station and found that it was closed / broken so you had to go somewhere else (as opposed to just having to wait longer as a couple of the pumps are broken) ?

Thinking back to 2019, I routinely couldn't go to the petrol station on my normal commute because it was getting a delivery and the forecourt was fully closed off. I had to make a detour or plan to fill up when doing the weekly shop. Simply getting home and plugging into a wall charger would have been far more convenient.

International Space Station stabilizes after just-docked Russian module suddenly fires thrusters

rg287 Silver badge

Particularly given that:

"It's also said that Nauka is out of propellant following its "tug of war" with the ISS."

So what they're saying is they didn't actually regain control. Nauka simply ran out before the ISS. Had the ISS been low on propellant to start with they could have been screwed (I presume they never let it get that low between resupplies, but the point stands).

Hungarian tech store closed by World War II bomb

rg287 Silver badge

Re: been there done that

An archaeologist friend was out in Jordan for a dig (WW1 Lawrence of Arabia type stuff). Lots of dugouts and spent casings. They dug up a larger cylinder which nobody was very sure about. A colleague took it back to the hotel and whilst they retired to the bar he went upstairs to consult a book and work out what it was.

About 20 minutes later they saw him pass by the bar quite quickly and head outside. He came back in shortly after, spoke to the receptionist and came into the bar.

"I'm pretty sure it was a rather obscure model of rifle grenade. I've popped it outside and told the staff about it. Probably not something we'll take home with us."

They added it to the "hazard" pile of suspect artefacts the next morning.

Ex-health secretary said 'vast majority' were 'onside' with GP data grab. Consumer champion Which? reckons 20 million don't even know what it is

rg287 Silver badge

I was very impressed with my GP who sent me a text about it.

You could reply with a word and they'd do the GP opt-out for you, and they also provided a link to do the online National Data opt-out.

Gives me faith in their attention to data protection.



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