260 votes

Was credit for the black hole image misattributed?

The metric does not measure what it is claimed it does, and even if it did it would be meaningless for assessing the role of Dr. Kate Bouman in creating the image. I'll go on to why, but I first want ...
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  • 2,473
133 votes

Was credit for the black hole image misattributed?

Technically, that is the percentage of the code she contributed, 2410 lines in 90 commits. From https://github.com/achael/eht-imaging/graphs/contributors But that tells us nothing about what the ...
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112 votes
Accepted

Do consumer computers include components that can connect to the internet when the computer is apparently turned off?

Yes, most modern computer processors include hardware with the capability to fully control all components of the computer (regardless of the power state of the system as a whole), to access all data ...
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  • 1,687
65 votes

Do four random common words make a stronger password than passwords like "Tr0ub4dor&3"?

It is true that you do not need numbers, special characters, etc for a strong password. If you instead increase the length of the password, the entropy will increase as well. See for example this ...
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  • 50.6k
43 votes

Did Bill Gates say 640k ought to be enough for everyone?

According to Quote Investigator, the evidence is inconclusive. In 1985 InfoWorld quoted him as saying When we set the upper limit of PC-DOS at 640K, we thought nobody would ever need that much memory....
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  • 1,431
41 votes
Accepted

Was credit for the black hole image misattributed?

The old title asked "Did researcher Katie Bouman only contribute 0.26% of code that created Black Hole image," and the existing answers do a good job explaining why it isn't true and why lines of code ...
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27 votes

Are these suppliers providing Macbook Pros for only US$230?

It's likely a scam: Apple's products have fixed prices and, for example, a MD711CH costs around 1000US$ in China: Also, there is a large "fakes" industry in China. They even have tons of fake Apple ...
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  • 78k
22 votes
Accepted

Have ATMs across the US "spat out money" in the second half of January 2018?

Brian Krebs (noted and respected infosec analyst and blogger) reported this on 27th Jan. 27 Jan 18 First ‘Jackpotting’ Attacks Hit U.S. ATMs ATM “jackpotting” — a sophisticated crime in ...
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  • 2,149
20 votes
Accepted

Are these suppliers providing Macbook Pros for only US$230?

This article claims that in 2010, the "Bill Of Material" for the cheapest MacBook Air was $718. So if, for example, Foxconn decided to buy some extra parts and do an extra shift to produce some ...
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19 votes
Accepted

Was this Harry-Potter themed text written solely by a computer program?

No, the text was not generated entirely by a computer program. Humans worked with the algorithm to generate the sentences, selected the ones they liked best, edited them into a story, and even added ...
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  • 399
17 votes

Is Google Chrome killing my laptop battery?

Is there evidence to support that the decrease in time slice duration causes the dramatic battery use increase claimed in the article? Yes. Quoting a technical paper released by Microsoft as part ...
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  • 29.8k
17 votes
Accepted

Can the "Xtra-PC" USB device make your old computer faster?

SUMMARY: No, it does not make your computer hardware run any faster. It may make the common software applications they provide for you run faster, depending on how your old machine is configured. As ...
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  • 286
16 votes
Accepted

Did a computer server get accidentally walled in?

The Register article was most likely a feed from this very brief and unsourced InformationWeek article, dated two days before the article in The Register. The story has the ring of urban legend to it....
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  • 11.2k
16 votes
Accepted

Can reading fine print cause damage to eyes?

The "damage" done by screens is in the form of eye strain. Your eyeball focuses by using muscles in the eye to change the shape of the lens within the eye, to properly focus incoming light onto the ...
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  • 9,368
16 votes
Accepted

Were flight reservations centrally managed on wall boards in huge halls in the pre-computer era?

I found a full account of pre-computerized reservation systems on Wikipedia's Reservisor article. The account is sourced to a single book, which I cannot get due to worldwide library closures, but ...
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  • 39.4k
14 votes

Is using "sleep mode" wasteful and harmful to a computer?

"Sleep mode" (on a computer or notebook) is a term that can hold different meaning. Generally it is considered S3 as defined by the ACPI specification, otherwise called "suspend-to-RAM," where your ...
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  • 241
13 votes
Accepted

Does Windows 10 defragmentation damage your SSD?

Windows 10 recognizes SSDs and treats them differently than standard HDDs, meaning that there is actually no risk on damaging your SSD. To quote Scott Hanselman No, Windows is not foolishly or ...
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13 votes

Do four random common words make a stronger password than passwords like "Tr0ub4dor&3"?

There is no single right answer to how much entropy a password has: the result will depend on the assumptions the attacker will make about it, and these are unknown. More or less reasonable guesses ...
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13 votes
Accepted

Was there a ML-backed algorithm that learnt to delete list instead of sorting it

Your own article cites its source, which in similar form is a collection of "interesting" outcomes of machine learning experiments. The relevant portion is here: when MIT Lincoln Labs evaluated ...
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12 votes

Is Canadian PM Trudeau's explanation about quantum computing accurate?

This question is ultimately a matter of opinion - here are the opinions of a number of relevant experts: Scott Aaronson, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, ...
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  • 133k
11 votes
Accepted

Does using the computer before sleeping affect sleep patterns?

Make your own conclusion from the sources mentioned This is evidence showing that using face-to-screen electronics before going to bed could harm your sleep. For instance, this study, published in ...
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  • 29.8k
11 votes

Do consumer computers include components that can connect to the internet when the computer is apparently turned off?

Let me answer the actual question: Is it true that the Intel Management Engine, and/or similar components in other brands of processor, can connect autonomously to the internet when the ...
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10 votes
Accepted

Was a new deep learning toolkit released once every 22 days in 2015?

Kyle McDonald wrote a Python script that dumps basic statistics information from GitHub for all the Deep Learning Toolkit projects that are included in this list. This Reddit comment, from November ...
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  • 133k
9 votes
Accepted

Did Babbage write programs for the Analytical Engine prior to Lovelace?

According to the 1970 article Von Neumann's First Computer Program: it is not the earliest instance of a computer program. We have Lady Lovelace's description of a program for calculating ...
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  • 98.2k
9 votes
Accepted

Did a TV news show cause lots of Amazon's Alexa devices to try to order doll houses?

TL;DR: Yes the incident (viewer complaints) occurred and is confirmed by a reporter Carlos Correa working in the CW6 television station in San Diego. Jim Patton and Lynda Martin the anchors from CW6 ...
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  • 22.5k
8 votes

Does using a matched pair of memory sticks provide any benefit?

I am going to assume that the memory in question has a manufacturer's warranty, as all memory I have ever seen does, and that the memory is warranted to perform within the specifications given by the ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Do some captchas record your mouse movements?

There is a system developed by Google, called "No CAPTCHA" or "reCAPTCHA". With that system you do not need to click on pictures with cars, traffic lights or distorted text. ...
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  • 5,861
5 votes

Can emails in draft box avoid detection?

In short: if the draft mail is stored in the server, it is saved there in a specific folder there like any other mail. So if the spying entity has access to the disk (as opposed to having access to ...
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  • 157
5 votes

Does using a computer affect your eyesight?

Personal computers are possibly one of the most empowering tool humanity has ever created. They're tools of communication, creativity, and they can be shaped by the user. But, of course they "...
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  • 29.8k

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