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Comments

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Old Doesn't Have To Mean Ugly: Squeezing Better Graphics From Classic Consoles

GrahamCox Other parts of the world? (163 comments)

SCART was more common in other parts of the world

What other parts? Where are you from? If you include a relative reference, at least mention what it's relative TO. You know, the internet is worldwide, FFS.

2 days ago
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News Corp Australia Doesn't Want You To Look Closely At Their Financials

GrahamCox Good! (131 comments)

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of cunts. The sooner they go down the toilet the better for the country.

4 days ago
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Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

GrahamCox Re:Too much good content is deleted at Wikipedia. (239 comments)

Exactly. Originally Wikipedia had a statement that "wikipedia isn't paper", so anything and everything was fair game for inclusion. That was one of its great attractions. I have no idea if that still stands, but if so it seems at odds with the whole notability thing. What they *should* do, if notability is an issue, is to have a little +/- thing on each article that rates the article for notability. Over time that will end up indicating the relative 'notabilty score' of the article, without having to have it actually deleted. Brainless fucks the lot of 'em, it's been years since I've contributed to WP, the attitude was just not worth battling over.

about a week ago
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Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation

GrahamCox New Name (426 comments)

Just rename it "The Internet". You and I know that the web isn't the internet, but the average grandma doesn't. I'm surprised Apple haven't already tried it with Safari.

about two weeks ago
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Of the following, I'd rather play ...

GrahamCox Re:Chess (274 comments)

At my level, it makes no difference who goes first :)

about two weeks ago
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Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

GrahamCox On Yer Bike (341 comments)

Just get a bike. Berlin is brilliant for cycling. And if you need to transport something big, just call up any of the many taxi-like services that will take it home in a van for you.

about two weeks ago
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Interviews: Ask Bjarne Stroustrup About Programming and C++

GrahamCox Re:Header files (427 comments)

Header files are great when you are writing code to be used by other people (i.e. most oft he time, for a professional). They allow you to separate the public parts of your blob of code from all the private nasty bits you'd rather they didn't see or use. Headers define your code's contract with the outside world, the rest is implementation detail. I'd hate to have to link against code that didn't use them - it would massively increase the learning curve for arbitrary libraries.

about two weeks ago
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Can Our Computers Continue To Get Smaller and More Powerful?

GrahamCox Re:Remove the Bloat (151 comments)

C=64 1Mhz 6510 with 64k RAM (38 useable), also fast and efficient

It wasn't fast by any stretch (I had the European PAL spec, which was even slower). If you wanted to use "high resolution" mode (320x200 pixels) then it took minutes to draw even simple curves. If you programmed it using the built-in BASIC, anything non-trivial took minutes or more. The only way you could write anything like a useful program was to use assembler, coding directly to the bare metal. Some of the games resulting were impressive enough for their time, but wouldn't look much today.

The problem isn't sloppy coding, but that expectations are higher - people want photographic fidelity for images and video, interfaces that look good, and the ability to download stuff over the internet quickly. All that takes a lot of processor power, and a certain amount of code. A modern PC is hardly wasting CPU cycles to get its work done (except in the trivial sense that it's using a lot of power for things that some people consider frivolous, like blurry translucent window backgrounds), there isn't a way to speed up our devices by 10x and still have them do what they do. The idea that modern code is wasteful and bloated is a myth.

about two weeks ago
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Can Our Computers Continue To Get Smaller and More Powerful?

GrahamCox Re:Obvious (151 comments)

Then the rate of improvements fell off a cliff

That's only true if you're only judging it by outright speed, height, etc. Things have continued to improve in terms of efficiency, thrust-to-weight ratio, noise, cleanliness of fuel burn and above all, reliability.

The original RB211 turbofan (the first big fanjet of the type that all modern airliners use) had a total lifetime of 1,000 hours. Nowadays it's >33,000 hours. That's an incredible achievement. In 1970, as a young kid with a keen interest in aviation, I would watch Boeing 707s fly in and out of my local airport, all trailing plumes of black smoke, all whining loudly (and deafeningly, on take-off), and understanding where all the noise protesters that frequently appeared on the news were coming from. Nowadays you don't have that, because noise is just not the problem it was, there's no black smoke, and jets slip in and out of airports really very quietly, when you consider how much power they are producing (which in turn helps them climb away more quickly).

As far as computing is concerned, you're right - there's still plenty of room at the bottom. But the current fabrication technology is reaching its limits. Perhaps jet engine manufacturers in the late 60s couldn't see how they would overcome fundamental limits in materials technology to produce the jets we have today, but they did.

about two weeks ago
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Of the following, I'd rather play ...

GrahamCox Chess (274 comments)

Of those listed, Chess is the only game (possibly the only game ever invented) that has no element of chance whatsoever. You win or lose purely by the decisions you make and the power of your own intellect. Even though I'm not very good, I do find it a stimulating and very satisfying game.

about two weeks ago
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Hemp Fibers Make Better Supercapacitors Than Graphene

GrahamCox Re:Legal... sort of (178 comments)

Which is nuts, actually. Hemp is a brilliant raw material with hundreds of practical uses which *should*, if people had any sense of balance, far outweigh the small issue of the cannabinoids. It could probably even be selectively bred to eliminate that aspect, but no, concern about a few potheads sends legislators into a tailspin. This is why we can't have nice things.

about two weeks ago
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Soccer Talent Scouting Application Teams Up With Video Game Publisher

GrahamCox Soccer's been sold out (39 comments)

Soccer has been sold out to the corporate sector. It's no longer about players and the love of the game, it's just about maximising profit.

Germany, who just won the World Cup, don't tend to do it this way so much - instead they invest in youth soccer training and mentoring, spotting and nurturing young talent. As a result, most of the teams in the Bundesliga are "worth" far, far less in pure financial terms (though I'm not claiming that there isn't a great deal of corporatism there as well, it just hasn't quite reached the same insane levels as the UK for example).

It's sad to see the game that was once the passion of every working class member of society become basically Formula 1 with boots on, with ticket prices only the wealthy can afford.

about two weeks ago
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Xbox One Will Play Media from USB Devices, DLNA Servers

GrahamCox DLNA is crap (112 comments)

Why DLNA, in this day and age? It's garbage, with a "lowest common denominator" approach to media files, with only 8.3 filenames and very few supported formats. It's like the companies got together to grudgingly agree a simple standard that would mean they didn't have to do any real work with each other, just a bare minimum that would just about allow interoperability and a minimum of effort to implement.

about two weeks ago
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I'd most like to (personally) explore:

GrahamCox Re:I'd like to explore... (246 comments)

Bali Bali

No such place. There's Bali, and there's Bora Bora. One of those?

about two weeks ago
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

GrahamCox Re:I don't get it. (541 comments)

why is intellectual variability so verboten

Show me a) how the brain works (at the intellectual level, not just neurons firing, which is only the hardware, not the software) and b) what IQ means, and c) how the genes influence either a or b.

It seems likely that whatever constitutes "intelligence", genes may be a factor. But there's a gulf of understanding the cause and effect between the two right now. That's why it's really just bad science to write about it as if it were a proven fact.

about two weeks ago
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Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

GrahamCox Re:Heysham (120 comments)

I can assure you it was not for time between nuclear accidents, but don't let that little truth stop you from you from making a slant.

I never claimed it was. I designed the thing; it was pretty clear they meant industrial accident in the normal sense of someone cutting themselves, dropping a hammer on their foot, etc. Nevertheless it struck me as a strange thing to want to put on display, because no matter what value the display showed up to 999, it would either be misinterpreted (e.g. as a nuclear accident) or always look far too low. The only way it would ever be impressive would be if it had a 10-digit display that always showed some very large number (but then that would be dishonest). So what's the point of it? Not for me to question, we were happy to take the customer's money.

about three weeks ago
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Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

GrahamCox Heysham (120 comments)

I once designed a huge display clock for the reception area of Heysham nuclear power station. The clock had a sweep second hand that traced out a ring of LEDs once per minute, and a counter that showed the number of days since the last industrial accident. The specification called for this counter to have just three digits, which frankly didn't inspire much confidence.

about three weeks ago
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Why Morgan Stanley Is Betting That Tesla Will Kill Your Power Company

GrahamCox Re:Here is WHY that won't happen anytime soon... (502 comments)

The only part of your post I agreed with was the bit about free energy crap on YouTube.

There is no great conspiracy; there never has been. If small fusion power was feasible, the company that put it on the market would clean up overnight, have an instant monopoly and would put everything else out of business instantly. This hasn't happened, ergo, the technology doesn't exist. Same for super-energy-efficient cars and so on.

Super capacitors can't replace batteries, they just don't have anywhere near the energy density of even current battery technology, which in itself is very poor compared with chemical fuel. What they do have is the ability to take charge quickly, so they could be useful for harvesting waste power in an electric car, e.g. regenerative braking. To hold enough charge to power the car continually long enough for a typical commute would require a semi-trailer's worth of capacitor space.

Yes, the sun does produce all the power we'll ever need - on average >200W/m^2 over the entire earth's surface. That's a lot of power, vastly more than we consume today. The problem is harvesting it - we can't cover the entire earth with solar panels, and if we did, they wouldn't be efficient enough with today's technology. So, since there's no grand conspiracy that we can close down, we'll just have to go back to slow but sure, scientifically tested research in labs. In other words, exactly what we are doing.

about three weeks ago
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Newly Discovered Virus Widespread in Human Gut

GrahamCox crAss (100 comments)

OK, I wondered. I'm sure you did. It is short for 'cross Assembler' - the software used to sequence the genome (I skimmed the paper). Not what you thought. No.

No shit.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Einstein thought religion "childish superstiti

GrahamCox GrahamCox writes  |  more than 6 years ago

GrahamCox (741991) writes "The Guardian is running a story about a private letter of Albert Einstein's which is about to come up for auction:
"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." So said Albert Einstein, and his famous aphorism has been the source of endless debate between believers and non-believers wanting to claim the greatest scientist of the 20th century as their own. A little known letter written by him, however, may help to settle the argument — or at least provoke further controversy about his views. Due to be auctioned this week in London after being in a private collection for more than 50 years, the document leaves no doubt that the theoretical physicist was no supporter of religious beliefs, which he regarded as "childish superstitions"."

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