* Posts by Mike Richards

3669 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Shakes on a plane: How dangerous is turbulence?

Mike Richards

Re: Betteridge's law of headlines.

For anyone who hasn't stumbled on it, Patrick Smith's 'Ask the Pilot' blog is well worth a follow. He's a trained pilot who knows his stuff - and I can also recommend his book of the same name as a present for anyone who is scared of flying:

http://www.askthepilot.com

Here's his take on turbulence:

http://www.askthepilot.com/questionanswers/turbulence/

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Mike Richards

Re: AAIB reports are freely available

I can recommend the entirely soothing audio book of Michael Crichton's 'Airframe' for long haul flights.

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Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

Mike Richards

It's like another age - Goonhilly - gone, Devonport - still there but much smaller, the hot rocks at Rosemanowes - gone (well at least the rocks are still there). I had to check that Plessy was still with us - apparently so.

But the brewery is still there.

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Mike Richards

CEGB

I wonder what our energy industry would look like today if the wanton vandalism of dismantling the foresighted CEGB had never happened?

Ah lovely Dinorwig, I recall endless episodes of Blue Peter visiting it when it was under construction, and realising this was a. very. big. thing. indeed.

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Russia poised to unleash 'Son of Satan' ICBM

Mike Richards

Re: Two steps forward...

'Middle East has been a total screw up since the demise of the Ottoman Empire'

Some would say since Moses got chatty with a bit of shrubbery, but I take your point.

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Investigatory Powers Bill: As supported by world's most controlling men

Mike Richards

Has anyone ever checked what sort of chemicals capable of inducing moderate to full-blown Blunkett levels of tyranny and paranoia are being piped into the Home Office water supply?

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Brit polar vessel christened RRS Sir David Attenborough

Mike Richards

We might have dodged a bullet...

Imagine if things go horribly wrong. I doubt that any BBC Radio 4 newscaster could get through the sentence ‘Thousands are feared dead and an environmental catastrophe looms after a collision between an ocean liner and the science vessel RRS Boaty McBoatface off of the Antarctic Peninsula’ without breaking down weeping with laughter.

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India trumpets seventh navigation sat launch

Mike Richards

Re: @Lester Haines Wonder how much they charge...

The US currently has a ban on American commercial satellites flying on Indian rockets. Ostensibly it's there because the Indian Space Agency is government owned and the Americans claim its launch costs are subsidised and distort the market. This also affects European satellites containing American components that are launched on Indian rockets.

It's a real problem for small American satellites as the US doesn't have many rockets designed for small payloads. SpaceX used to have the Falcon 1, but that has been retired in favour of the much larger 9, and the few companies that do have small rockets such as Minotaur and Pegasus aren't competitive against the PSLV.

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Mike Richards

Re: I'm no rocket scientist

IIRC India didn't have a reliable, powerful liquid engine for the first stage, but their ICBM programme had given them plenty of experience of building big solid engines, so that made sense for the first stage - which is the third largest solid motor ever fired after the Shuttle SRB and the Ariane V boosters. The second needs to be less powerful and more controllable, so they could use their moderately powerful liquid Vikas engine which is derived from the original Ariane 1 motor.

I'm not sure why they then stick another solid on top of that. But they do need a more controllable liquid engine to put satellites into orbit.

India has now mastered big liquid engines and cryogenic engines for the GSLV Mark 2 and Mark 3 respectively, so I'd imagine the PSLV solid-liquid-solid-liquid sandwich won't be repeated.

I bet it makes an amazing noise though - one day I'll see a rocket launch. The Reg should open a travel tentacle for us space nerds.

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Ireland's tech sector fears fallout of Brexit 'Yes' vote

Mike Richards

There is a period (I think it's 15 years) during which expats can still vote in the referendum. Beyond that period, the courts have ruled that they are ineligible.

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First rocket finally departs Russia's Vostochny cosmodrome

Mike Richards

Re: Great pictures.

I've always loved the four elegant swing arms that release the rocket. Before launch they gently squeeze inwards holding the rocket upright, but once there's enough thrust for the rocket to begin pushing upwards, they relax their grip and counterweights pull them away from the rocket so it can fly free. No need for explosive bolts and complicated electronics.

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Mike Richards

Re: Not something America could do

The US has less need of a new launch centre, Kennedy/Canaveral are huge, well to the south of any Russian site and well sited in case you need to drop something into the ocean as well as receiving rockets by road, rail and barge.

The Vandenberg Shuttle pad was scrapped following the Challenger explosion when the USAF successfully lobbied to move all national security payloads to the Titan IV. Challenger also put pay to the extremely lightweight filament wound SRBs that would have been required to put a payload into polar orbit. With no booster and no payload, there was no need for a Shuttle pad at Vandenberg.

And the US is currently building a new launch centre near Brownsville, TX where Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 Heavies will be flying from late 2017

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Mike Richards

Re: Location?

Further south and on the coast might mean dropping spent stages on Japan - not a good thing.

Russia's Energia Group is also the majority owner of Sea Launch which was putting Zenit payloads into space from a floating platform on the equator, but that seems to be defunct following the Russian invasion of Ukraine where Zenit is constructed.

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El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse spared chickpea ordeal

Mike Richards

Two words

Liposuction

and

Biodiesel

But good luck with the diet/rewiring/wedding/turbo - just say 'I do' to the right person and don't promise to give everything that's yours to the electrician (although it often ends up that way).

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Ten years in the clink, file-sharing monsters! (If UK govt gets its way)

Mike Richards

Holidays

Anyone know if the Baroness has recently had a lovely holiday on David Geffen's yacht? Mandelson got one and came over all Digital Economy Act shortly afterwards.

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What's wrong with the Daily Mail buying Yahoo?

Mike Richards

Daily Mail buying Yahoo!

Means that it'll own Tumblr from which it gets most of its 'content' - so they will have cut out the middle man.

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Flying Spaghetti Monster is not God, rules mortal judge

Mike Richards

The problem with the idea of a 'parody religion'

Is finding ones that aren't.

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Dropping 1,000 cats from 32km: How practical is that?

Mike Richards

Re: Acceleration pedantry

No one has been able to keep them still long enough to count.

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Brits seek rousing name for polar research vessel

Mike Richards

Or...

PARIS

Proper Antarctic Research is Science!

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Mike Richards

Since Erebus and Terror don't have great reputations in polar exploration may I humbly suggest:

RRS Penguin Smasher

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Labour will create FUD and then abstain on UK Snoopers' Charter vote

Mike Richards

Bit hard on pubic lice isn't it? They're just trying to make a living - not trying to reclaim £19.99 for an IKEA bathrobe:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5293553/MPs-expenses-Andy-Burnhams-battle-over-claim.html

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Mike Richards

Re: Abstain?

Andy Burnham has a proud tradition of sitting on his hands when it comes to these sorts of votes. Last year he abstained on the Welfare Bill after saying it was a bad piece of legislation, and then when it was on the books, went around saying Labour should have opposed it.

In this case, he's even on record as supporting the aims of the bill and doesn't want to cause a delay to get it on to the statute book. Burnham has no problem with warrantless mass surveillance, he opposes proper judicial oversight and he's too technologically ignorant to realise that increasing the size of the haystack doesn't make it easier to find needles.

So let's not forget, the likes of Burnham would be putting just this sort of legislation in front of Parliament if they'd gained a majority. Our former minister for ID cards is the perfect little authoritarian apparatchik that does so well in the Home Office.

Crap - we actually did need the LibDems...

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NAO slates UK.gov's 'haphazard' sci-tech money-chuck plan

Mike Richards

Meg Hillier

Meg bloody 'ID cards' Hillier is concerned the government isn't spending money sensibly????

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Investigatory Powers Bill lands in Parliament amid howls over breadth of spying powers

Mike Richards

Re: Wow.

Ah well in that case we're relying on the magisterial oratory skills and persuasive powers of that well-known liberal Andy 'ID cards - yes please!' Burnham.

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Who would code a self-destruct feature into their own web browser? Oh, hello, Apple

Mike Richards

Re: Nice to know..

You'd have to sacrifice the whole population of London in order to upgrade iTunes into a simply dreadful programme. Anything less and you just make it stronger.

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Come on kids, let's go play in the abandoned nuclear power station

Mike Richards

Isn't the new Bradwell B going to be a China General Nuclear Power Group or China National Nuclear Corporation PWR of the Hualong 1 or CAP1400 flavour? I'm increasingly doubtful we'll ever see the EPR here with Flamanville Unit 3 still looking like 'un cock up massiv'.

Quite agree about the engineer label. In Germany they're the people who build exquisite pieces of technology that transform lives, here they're the people who come to fix the washing machine.

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UK.gov plans to unveil a new Digital Bill

Mike Richards

Re: Digital

Am I being unduly cynical in assuming they threw in a clause about kiddie porn to guarantee the bill and whatever sundry hidden horrors and idiocies it contains will be passed with massive majorities and precious little scrutiny?

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Boffins celebrate 30th anniversary of first deep examination of Uranus

Mike Richards

Re: Orbits, rings, anyone?

Bothe NASA and ESA have looked at Uranus orbiters and atmosphere probes, but at about $2 billion they've never reached the top of the pile and the shortage of plutonium has made things worse. But there is a lovely coincidence that the mass of Uranus, its moons and their distances from one another allow an orbiter to follow a Galileo style mission using a series of gravity assists to make a number of close passes of the planet and its satellites.

A mission would take about 9 years with a gravity assist from Jupiter after the first year - Uranus is a long way away!

There's a complication unique to Uranus that makes orbiters only practical every now and again. Because it orbits on its side, it alternates between showing its equator and pokes to the Sun. To survey the moons the probe would need to arrive when the equator is at or close to pointing at the Sun. Right now Uranus rolling round to show its pole but it'll be perfectly aligned in 2049, so hope your're not planning anything.

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We know this isn't about PRISM, Matt Warman MP. But do you?

Mike Richards

He doesn't need to get it...

...he just has to vote the way the government tells him.

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TalkTalk outage: Dial M for Major cockup

Mike Richards

So the only people who can get into TalkTalk are the hackers?

It does rather make you wonder what Dido would have to do to get fired from the company.

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Apple on the attack against British snooping bill. Silicon Valley expected to follow

Mike Richards

Re: Fault Finding

I've always assumed there is something in the Home Office water supply that turns right-thinking people into authoritarian monsters. Of course, for the likes of Straw, Blunkett and May, they're already most of the way there.

Can anyone think of the last genuinely enlightened Home Secretary? Ken Clarke, or do we have to go back to Roy Jenkins?

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Getting metal hunks into orbit used to cost a bomb. Then SpaceX's Falcon 9 landed

Mike Richards

Re: A bit negative...

The four Zenit boosters that were packed around the Energia core were designed to be reusable, returning to Earth by parachute. Anyone know if the Soviet Union ever recovered them from the two Energia launches?

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US Navy's newest ship sets sail with Captain James Kirk at the bridge

Mike Richards

Re: One missile hit and it's all over.

'How fitting if Captain Kirk gets the command of the under construction USS Enterprise (CVN-80) in 2025.'

The US Navy's publicists should move heaven and earth to make it happen - although they might melt the Internet if it were to happen.

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Galileo, Galileo, Galileo good two go

Mike Richards

Re: I cant really understand

The really accurate ones are aimed at the enemy's missile silos which are hardened against anything short of a near direct hit.

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TalkTalk boss: 'Customers think we're doing right thing after attack'

Mike Richards

TalkTalk will have magicked up all sorts of sweeteners for people threatening to cancel - suddenly much cheaper contracts and freebies will materialise which couldn't be offered to loyal customers.

Depressing to think that there are still people dumb enough to renew with Dido's Telecom Shysters.

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What the Investigatory Powers Bill will mean for your internet use

Mike Richards

Re: Can my ISP determine which of us at home is accessing a certain site?

'Who visited Peppa Pig website and who visited the Bullingdon Club website are likely to be two different members of the family...'

Lord Ashcroft's book suggests they could be the same person.

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Sun of a b... Solar winds blamed for ripping away Mars' atmosphere

Mike Richards

Re: What's that smell?...

Have a recommend, and here's another link this time to Venus Express which did a lot of work on atmospheric evolution on Venus:

http://sci.esa.int/venus-express/50246-a-magnetic-surprise-for-venus-express/

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Mike Richards

Re: Uh ...

Solar erosion was known of in the late 1970s, but there were still questions about how much of the atmosphere had been blown into space compared to the amount sequestered in the soil as adsorbed and frozen carbon dioxide, converted to carbonates through silicate weathering and trapped as nitrate deposits.

Now we know the lithosphere contains approximately bugger/all.

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TalkTalk offers customer £30.20 'final settlement' after crims nick £3,500

Mike Richards

Re: 6 or 12 months

If there is such a thing as a Reg reader on TalkTalk, it might be worth looking at your contract.

If my parents' experience last week is anything to go by TalkTalk is still auto renewing contracts despite Ofcom ruling it illegal. They mentioned this to TalkTalk and any talk of penalties suddenly ended and lots of really nice offers started coming their way - but they left TalkTalk and made sure Dido knew it was because they couldn't trust the company.

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Mike Richards

From TalkTalk:

"In the unlikely event that money is stolen from a customer’s bank account as a direct result of the cyber attack (rather than as a result of any information given out by a customer) then as a gesture of goodwill, on a case by case basis, we will waive termination fees."

The bit about 'rather than as a result of any information given out by a customer' is a nasty bit of legalese that allows them to avoid paying *any* compensation. The fraud only works because customers are convinced that the fraudsters are genuine TalkTalk reps. And the fraudsters are only in that position because TalkTalk failed to secure their data.

As soon as a customer provides a fraudster with *any* additional information on top of the names, phone numbers, account details and some bank details TalkTalk couldn't be bothered to secure - they can't request a no-fee termination of contract.

Has anyone had any success in leaving TalkTalk for claiming a breach of Section 18 of their terms and conditions which says: ‘We’re committed to protecting and preserving any information you give to us.’?

And nothing from Dido about TalkTalk repaying customers' money lost to fraudsters.

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Hi, um, hello, US tech giants. Mind, um, mind adding backdoors to that crypto? – UK govt

Mike Richards

This proposal must be proof positive that Cameron is working for the Chinese government.

I hope someone asks him how his clever friends in the City have responded to this level of encryption buggery on their whizzo financial transactions.

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UK's super-cyber-snoop shopping list: Internet data, bulk spying, covert equipment tapping

Mike Richards

Re: I'm sure that this will be just like RIPA

One estimate is that the police are already making one metadata request every two minutes. Under Darth May's proposals that can only increase. How many jihadi kiddie fiddlers does the Home Office think there are?

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Mike Richards

How is the data stored?

Is there anything in the legislation that says how ISPs have to store the data?

Does it have to be a live database that Plod/News International can access at the click of a mouse, or could they store everything about their customers on a pile of C90s in a damp cellar behind a locked door whose key hasn't been seen since Darren in IT left to become a Shoreditch barista?

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MPs launch 'TalkTalk' inquiry over security of personal data online

Mike Richards

This might be hilarious

We get to see the technical grasp of the Cultural Committee as they forensically examine Dido over all aspects of computer security.

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Licence to snoop: Ipso facto, crypto embargo? Draft Investigatory Powers bill lands

Mike Richards

Re: The Tories are now, officially, Bond Villains.

'It should be a piece of piss to get this bill knocked back. But will they?'

Of course not, the Tories who don't want the state interfering in things that matter are gagging to impose this law. Labour's shadow Home Secretary is Andy bloody Burnham who tried to drive ID cards on to the statute book.

Anyone who stands up against this bill will be portrayed as a Friend of Saville (by the people who protected Jimmy Saville for so many years) or a wannabe jihadi.

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Cash injection fuels SABRE spaceplane engine

Mike Richards

Re: responsible for awarding and overseeing the contracts

You left out the stage where BAE uses the British taxpayer money to buy a foreign defence contractor and quietly siphon jobs from the UK to the US.

But apart from that, spot on.

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Here's how TalkTalk ducked and dived over THAT gigantic hack

Mike Richards

Re: Why Is Dido Harding Still in a Job?

It's odd that the government hasn't made a bigger thing about the TalkTalk hack - after all, it is one of the largest leaks of personal information in the UK that hasn't been managed by the government, and they're always telling us about the threat of all things cyber.

Could it be that they don't want to draw attention to the incompetent Dido Harding being a colleague of Cameron's at Oxford PPE, a Tory peer and married to John Penrose MP Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury, and assistant government whip?

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Top cops demand access to the UK's entire web browsing history

Mike Richards

Re: HMRC and councils to have access too

After that, how long before everyone's browsing history is also shared with Feargul Sharkey and the creeps at the BPI?

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Mike Richards

Re: Will be struck down ....

The government sees no need for supervision of police access to this data, it will be abused. So it's more than likely we'll see a repeat of the corrupt coppers who were happy to feed celebrity and crime stories to the News of the Screws finding other publications willing to pay for Internet histories of the unfortunate/rich/powerful/stupid.

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Mike Richards

Berry explained the police's desire to The Times by saying "We want to police by consent..."

"...but then we thought - fuck it, let's just force them to hand over the data."

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