Mathematicians Are Chronically Lost and Confused
i had to be woken up at around 9:20am for a 3 hour A-Level Maths exam that had started at 9am and was to end at 12. starting at around 9:25 on the first question, after around 25 minutes i gave up and went onto the 2nd question. this one i did in around 15 minutes. from there i accelerated, completed *every* question, returned to the first and completed it in a few minutes. i then sat back for a while, then got some coloured pens and coloured in one of the graphs. i might even have been bold enough to have left 10 or 15 minute early.
when the results were in i learned i'd got an A. on an exam that was supposed to be 3 hours and i'd completed every question in a little over 2. that was 1987 and i've never forgotten what happened. the point is: i know that once you get started, and get into the mindset, anything is possible: questions you couldn't answer suddenly become easy.
Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?
yeah if it's a windows computer, the only piece of software i need is the one which was formerly available under the domain name goodbyemicrosoft.com. now it's available directly from the debian.org web site.
Tesla Used A Third of All Electric-Car Batteries Last Year
what's the material that's used in batteries? lithium. how much lithium is there on the planet? not enough. this is the problem that's being swept under the carpet. we already have high prices on copper, as it's already in short supply due to its prevalence in electronics. the quantities required of neodymium (for the magnets in the motors), copper (for the moving coils in the motors) and lithium (for the batteries) to push around 2 tonnes of metal is basically... insane. there's not enough available on the planet. something has to give.
The Higgs Boson Re-Explained By the Mick Jagger of Physics
ok, for what it's worth, my take on what the higgs is, is that it's a [virtual] ultra-heavy proton, made up of the same [previously undiscovered] ultra-heavy quarks that make up the [virtual] W and Z Bosons. it takes a bit of explaining, but i've been looking into this... a lot.... and i surmise that the W and Z Bosons are just flavours of pions (2-quark particles) whilst the Higgs is just a flavour of the proton (3 quark particles). they don't appear "in the wild" so to speak because a) they're incredibly large b) they're hugely unstable, *but* in "virtual" form they're actually very easy to create (universe-speaking)
what's interesting is that there _should_ also be a "neutral" Higgs as well - based on an ultra-heavy neutron. hey look! there's two mass figures for the Higgs, and one of them was gamma ray decay particles only! and what's the difference between the 126.0 / 125.3 and mass of neutron divided by mass of proton? exactly the same to within 0.05%. funny that. .... the only problem is: i now need about 10 years worth of full-time maths training in order to catch up with the level of mathematics that's gone into QED in order to *prove* the above to the satisfaction of the rest of the particle physics community.... and that, essentially, is the whole problem with particle physics. the direction it's taken is so immensely complex that the number of people who can contribute successfully is vastly limited: thus, progress in this field isn't limited by computers or people's enthusiasm for the subject but by the direction that it's taken.
from a software engineering and reverse-engineering perspective, pure maths like this simply doesn't have the kind of "rapid prototyping" loop that allows progress to be efficiently made. each mathematical construct is an "ivory tower", where the smallest theoretical modification or tweak can require the entire edifice to be redesigned from the ground up (taking man-decades of intense thought in the process).
so - think of this: considered as a computer program, how could anyone "debug" the process by which particle physics has evolved?
NSA and GHCQ Employing Shills To Poison Web Forum Discourse
well. that would explain why maharishi mahesh yogi was accused of all sorts of things. and why various scientists get "discredited". it would be interesting to consider how best to counteract these measures, although Mr Maharishi Bounces-on-the-Mattress Mahesh Yogi had a tactic that seemed to work: ignore them....
Internet Shutdown Adds To Venezuela's Woes
it will be interesting to see and learn what the long-term economic and social effects of these censorship attempts are. the effect of censorship is not just going to cut off the "pruhtesters", it'll cut off researchers from access to papers and equipment, businesses from the customers and suppliers, and, additionally, cut off government departments within venezuela from effective communication with each other in the day-to-day operations. looking further ahead i look forward to seeing whether other governments find this lesson useful or not.
Stack Overflow Could Explain Toyota Vehicles' Unintended Acceleration
... you know... i worked for pi technology in milton, cambridge, in 1993. they're a good company. they write automotive control systems, engine control management software, vehicle monitoring software and diagnosis systems and so on. one of the things i learned was that coding standards for mission-critical systems such as engine control have to be very very specific and very very strict. the core rules were simple:
1) absolutely no recursion. it could lead to stack overflows.
2) absolutely no local variables. it could lead to stack overflows.
3) absolutely no use of of malloc or free. it could lead to stack overflows.
now you're telling me that there are actually car manufacturers that cannot be bothered to follow even the simplest and most obvious of safety rules for development of mission-critical software, on which peoples' lives depend? that's so basic that to not adhere to those blindingly-obvious rules sounds very much like criminal negligence.
Scientists Calculate Most Precise Measurement of Electron's Mass
well... this is puzzling. i tried converting the value reported to MeV and accidentally divided by the atomic units constant 9.109 382 91 x 10-31 instead. what i got shocked the hell out of me: 1000x avogadro's constant. according to reports here http://phys.org/news/2014-02-p... the value is 0.000548579909067 atomic mass units. if however you divide that by the atomic unit of mass reported here http://physics.nist.gov/cgi-bi...|search_for=atomic+mass+unit you get, to 6 decimal places, avogadro's constant times 1,000.
i am... very very startled! the implications are that there is some sort of link between the mass of the electron and (if you look up the definition of 1 mole on wikipedia) the number of atoms in 12 kg of carbon. which is.... incredibly odd.
i don't think it's a systemic error, because the original experiment's value agrees with that of other measurements that have been made of the electron's mass. what it would mean is that there appears to genuinely be a link between the mass of the electron and avogadro's constant.
Foxconn Building Factories In Indonesia
i heard that taxation on electronic "luxury" goods is at an insane level in indonesia, resulting in grey imports and smuggling. building a factory in indonesia would be a simple way to get round the problem.
EU Commission: Corruption Across EU Costs €120 Billion
The European Union's accounts have not been signed off for over 14 years. no chartered accountancy firm will touch them. what that makes the European Union is an "Organised Crime Syndicate". this is not a hoax or a joke: it is a fact. any organisation that operates outside the law and siphons money from people in an organised fashion is a criminal syndicate. it happens to be illegal to fund Organised Crime. therefore, following the logic through, all the Sovereign States that give the E.U. their citizens' taxes are also breaking the law. it therefore also follows that any citizen of an E.U. Sovereign State is, if they pay taxes, funding Organised Crime and is therefore also breaking the law.
as a citizen of a Sovereign State in the E.U the way to ensure that the law is not broken is therefore to contact a solicitor and arrange for any taxes being paid to be witheld - paid into an escrow account - pending resolution of the criminal activities of the European Union.
First Evidence That Google's Quantum Computer May Not Be Quantum After All
the article is mis-reported... or at the very least confusing. if you read the article carefully it describes failures of some of the researchers, followed by reporting the successful analysis and conclusions, possibly by a completely different team. the time-lines are not made clear, either. this sounds like a reporter decided to mis-represent the facts.
The New York Times Pushes For Clemency For Snowden
"When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government,"
hang on... errr... if it's been pointed out that GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS have broken the law, remind me again why it's *edward snowden* that's being pursued for criminal acts?
Ask Slashdot: Command Line Interfaces -- What Is Out There?
although it has a built-in python command prompt i.e. it's python it does have that as an actual tab, with the electrum python module pre-loaded. really handy.
Power-Loss-Protected SSDs Tested: Only Intel S3500 Passes
and get a UPS. Why blow more money on a slightly more reliable SSD when a UPS is so much cheaper?
the equipment is being deployed in remote locations. i didn't explain _how_ remote but often it requires cherry pickers or climbing up ladders to install the kit. it's already 16kg: a UPS would a) not be enough b) would be too heavy (regardless of capacity) c) would be additional cost.
also, the answer is in the question itself, already. any UPS is going to be what... £50 minimum? at the lower capacity end (16gbyte to 80gbyte) the cost differential between a power-loss-protected SSD and a consumer-grade unprotected one is around a £15 variation.
so you'd be making it dangerous for on-site engineers to install the kit (too heavy to lift one-handed whilst up a ladder) and actually *increasing* the cost of the equipment. not sensible! :)
Power-Loss-Protected SSDs Tested: Only Intel S3500 Passes
Does this mean the write-cache is NAND too?
i think it reasonable to assume that the write cache is DDR RAM. on the Innodisk 3MP SATA Slim the DDR RAM IC was clearly visible, as was Innodisk's CPU and the Toshiba NAND ICs.
Also, why was Samsung excluded?
Their 800 series with RAID support has been tested in the past with long term writes with great results.
probably by accident. it was hard enough to find out the details of drives as it was. imagine having to do several hours worth of google searching per drive, and having a list of suppliers whom you're asking "can you find out if this drive has power-loss protection" and they ask "what's that" - it gets really really boring after a while.
the 250gb one you reference is for example far too much money: the requirements were, after all, a minimum of *16 gbytes*. not a minimum of 160 gbytes: not a *maximum* of 160 gbytes, a *minimum* of 16 gbytes. the 120gbyte Samsung 840 however is actually within budget. over 100gbytes of its capacity would be completely wasted for the application it would be considered for, but that's ok.
so thank you: i'll put it on the list and we'll consider having a look at it if i am permitted to.
I do not mean to plug a particular brand, but the range of SSD's tested in the articles does not seem very expansive nor do they seem to fit into the criteria they specify.
the number of drives that _weren't_ investigated because they were a) too expensive b) had no datasheets that could be found even with exhaustive testing c) were far too large in capacity was much *much* larger.
Power-Loss-Protected SSDs Tested: Only Intel S3500 Passes
"after experiencing a costly 50% failure rate on over 200 remote-deployed OCZ Vertex SSDs"
Stop gloating about how you got the good batch of OCZ SSDs! Some of us weren't so lucky....
*sigh* yeah. the very early Vertex's were fine [i say fine: they were "no worse than any other consumer-grade SSD that had no power-loss protection"]. we surmised that it was only later that OCZ decided to ignore Sandforce's advice. sadly, *all* the OCZ's got tarred with the same brush. the investigation that found that the crap drives could all be firmware-downgraded came *after* they'd all been pulled at enormous expense.
India Cautions Users On Risks Associated With Virtual Currencies
I note that there are quite a few risks associated with CASH including:
* theft of physical wallets that are used to store CASH
* absence of realistic application of frameworks to tackle customer problems, disputes and charge backs with CASH.
* exposure to potential losses because of high volatility in value of the CASH currencies
* legal and financial risks assocated with trusting strangers with your CASH,
* and breach of anti-money laundering laws where people can carry CASH because of lack of complete information on tracking of CASH between anonymous random strangers.
so. wonderful. india's announcing something random about bitcoin. great! let's watch the value go up again just like it did in china as it comes to more peoples' attention. yay!
Free Software Foundation Endorses a "Truly Free" Laptop
I get the sense that the FSF, though having some very good ideals, has no understanding of the importances of "just works" and "value added".
brian: define "value added". more to the point, whose "values" are you considering: yours? or the kinds of people for whom access to FSF-Endorseable hardware is absolutely critical? you cannot dictate what other people find find to be "value".
Why Bitcoin Is Doomed To Fail, In One Economist's Eyes
"it is now under four feet of garbage in a landfill site the size of a football pitch."
WHERE?? WHICH ONE, DAMNIT!!
Dual-Core Allwinner A20 Powered EOMA-68 Engineering Card Available
Being able to replace the core of your tablet doesn't fix sctrached screens, aged batteries, and general wear...
... but with a modular tablet you'd be able to transfer - in seconds - the entire applications and data over to a replacement unscratched tablet chassis with a new battery which would cost you *less* money than the equivalent monolithic product.
you need to remember to view this from both sides. it's possible to replace *either* the CPU Card *or* the chassis, and in each case you have significant advantages and lower costs.
when did you ever buy a hermetically-sealed product that you could upgrade? the clue is in the word "hermetically-sealed".... :)
and any tablet that you can replace something on is going to be thicker
true. i have a design which uses PCCARD 3.3mm. if you have around $250,000 for the tooling costs for all the parts (assemblies, housings, sockets, casework) i can get it done... maybe in about 6 months time. or... we could use off-the-shelf parts and get immediately into production.
which would you prefer? perfect waffle-ware - more expensive due to the investment and NREs - or actual product that's reasonably-priced because there's no investor overheads?
and less "tablet like" than a 'nice' current tablet.
simply not true.
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