* Posts by Mike Richards

3579 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

LOHAN slips BRA over BOOBIES in ballocket backronym buffoonery

Mike Richards

FLASHR

Firmware

Location

Altitude

Signalling

Hardware

Reusable

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HORNY ALIEN vegetarian monsters once ROAMED CANADA

Mike Richards

Re: That's a lot of horn for veggies to support

'Given the expenditure of energy needed to haul around all that plate armor, Xeno C must have found the Canada of its days full of some seriously rough predatorial neighbours.'

They had to deal with the Canadian members of the Tyrannosauridae family, which like modern Canadians are less terrifying than their American neighbours, but still included the delightfully betoothed Gorgosaurus:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgosaurus_libratus

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Malaysia protests rare earth processing plant

Mike Richards

It's purely historic. Earth elements got their name from chemists who found it extremely hard to extract the metals from their oxides. The rare earths had similar chemistry but were thought to be rare at a time when chemists were largely confined to looking at what came out of European mines. The majority of the then-known rare earths were extracted from gadolinite which was known only in a single mine in Ytterby not far from Stockholm.

Gadolinite was originally thought to be a tungsten ore but the great Swedish chemist Johan Gadolin discovered it was something else. He was a bit worried he was going to turn chemistry upside down 'It is not without great trepidation I dare speak of a new earth because they are right now becoming far too numerous for it seem to me rather fatal if each of the new earths should only be found in one site or one mineral.' Gadolin discovered four new elements in gadolinite (named after him) - erbium, terbium, ytterbium and yttrium, all named after the town itself. Later, the same ore also revealed holmium (named after Stockholm) and thulium (from Thule), whilst euxenite again from the same mine, was the original source of tantalum/

Remember me if you win on 'Pointless'.

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Swedish boffins: An ICE AGE is coming, only CO2 can save us

Mike Richards

An alternative conclusion can be had by *reading the paper*

In fact you just need the abstract:

'We estimate the potential extent of peatland in Sweden, based on slope properties of possible areas excluding lakes and glaciofluvial deposits. We assume no human presence or anthropic effects, so the calculation is speculative. It may have been relevant for previous interglacials.'

So in other words, Lewis has once again cherry-picked a headline not substantiated by the research.

The paper (an interesting read BTW) suggests that peatlands might be one mechanism by which the Earth tips from interglacial conditions - such as those we've had since the beginning of the Holocene - to glacial conditions.

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Sellafield's nuclear waste measured in El Reg units

Mike Richards

Re: Cornish sand

'Isn't the sand on some Cornish beaches sufficiently naturally radioactive to be classified as intermediate level waste?'

Cornish granite is enriched in K40, uranium and thorium plus all their delightfully unstable decay products so much of the county does have relatively high background radioactivity. I can't think of anywhere where the sand is especially radioactive, but I could imagine some alluvial deposits of heavy uranium and thorium minerals might exist where the waves have washed away less dense materials.

The average annual exposure to background radiation in West Cornwall is something like 8mSv most of which comes from radon bubbling up from the granite. The average additional annual exposure for nuclear workers is 0.2mSv. A full body CT scan is 10mSv and the annual limit for people working in the nuclear industry is just 20mSv.

I do know that the radioactive sources we had in our physics lectures back at Humphry Davy Grammar School were considerably less powerful than the chunks of uraninite in the walls. We probably had the only cloud chamber that was permanently closed through fog.

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Mike Richards

Re: High Level Waste

'I'm not sure how one converts the semi-detached family home into the Olympic sized swimming pool unfortunately...'

You use the standard IOC conversion and multiply through by nine billion quid.

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BIONIC MAN makes it to top of Chicago skyscraper

Mike Richards

Re: To put it in perspective

'$8m would get burnt through by a big automotive manufacturers R&D department in 4 to 6 weeks.'

It would possibly stretch to a couple of liquid lunches for Silicon Valley patent lawyers.

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China fingered for Coca Cola hack - report

Mike Richards

Bizarre

'China’s Ministry of Commerce eventually rejected the deal after raising competition concerns.'

Presumably the Chinese government doesn't want any competition?

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Naughty-step Apple buries court-ordered apology with JavaScript

Mike Richards

Oh well done Apple!

You've managed to turn a story about which almost no one understood the detail and which would have been forgotten by now into a long running saga of corporate silly buggers.

Steve may have passed on, but his assholery lingers.

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O2 roaming rates to rise by up to 140%

Mike Richards

Re: in July and insists this merely brings its pricing in line with competitors....

They've seen all the shiny new Mercs being bought by bosses of the energy companies and want the same.

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Tesla Model S named '2013 Automobile of the Year'

Mike Richards

Rarest of things - a good looking American car

It's like Mr Mondeo met Ms Jaguar.

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Debenhams cafes ban outré terms like 'espresso' and 'cappuccino'

Mike Richards

'Personally I'd keep the names in large text, and maybe have a subtitle beneath it that says what is actually in each drink, rather than replace the names of each drink entirely.'

Might as well go the whole McDonalds route and just give the drinks numbers.

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Mike Richards

Re: Except that a "Tall" coffee often means small coffee

I thought Starbucks applied homeopathy to coffee whilst Costa just set light to the beans rather than roast them?

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Mike Richards

Re: Tinned Spaghetti

'Tinned spaghetti is an insult in any culture, I imagine it's like a declaration of war to an Italian.'

Yeah, but we usually win those.

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NASA's long shot shows Titan glows in the dark

Mike Richards

Re: Titan. Fuel dump of the solar system.

Didn't Tom Baker's Doctor once visit a refuelling plant on Titan only to be menaced by a giant prawn with scary eyebrows?

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Monty Python legend Eric Idle and rockstar boffin Cox write a song

Mike Richards

Re: Class

Oh look on the bright side - it's not Richard Hammond.

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First eyes EVER SEEN (by definition) appeared 700 million years ago

Mike Richards

Re: But but...

Awww crap I'm gonna bite (wish me luck folks).

Since I've done radiodating of geological samples I might be speaking with a small amount of (slightly hung over) authority, or I could be part of the evil cabal of earth scientists who are hoping to become infinitely rich by telling people the world is really, really, really old (and very cool - apart from the hot bits obviously).

The age of the Earth isn't solely derived from U->Pb dating (although that was the first method tried). The relative volatility of lead is a real problem with older samples which are likely to have been metamorphosed since original crystallisation. Instead the range of dates for the formation of the Earth is based on various dating methods including Pb -> Pb, Sm -> Nd, Rb -> Sr and Re -> Os, all of which come in around 4.51 - 4.68 Gya with a typical range of +/- 0.15Gy.

Pb -> Pb dates are referenced against a geochron which was taken from meteoritic dates of IIRC three stony meteorites of different compositions and two iron meteorites. If you want detail look up the Holmes-Houtermans method for Pb -> Pb dating. Basic chemistry tells us that the iron-nickel troilite alloy of iron meteorites is depleted in uranium so it will not contain radiogenic lead derived from uranium decay. So the ratios of lead isotopes in iron meteorites are those of the primeval solar system.

C-14 in diamonds? If you're talking about the Baumgardner and RATE work, it has been heavily criticised for not following proper procedures in handling carbon isotopes. Anomalous radiocarbon readings are occasionally found in studies of carbonates, but the fact the vast majority of geological samples do not show radiocarbon forces us to conclude that the problem is either with instrumentation or with the way samples are prepared for analysis.

Ocean salinity? Really? Seriously? You're still using that one. Look Edmond Halley didn't know how evaporite deposits form or how widespread they are. T. Mellard Reade, John Joly and George Becker didn't know about plate tectonics - they didn't know that ocean waters (containing salt) are in intimate contact with magma at mid-ocean ridges; that a volume of water equivalent to the entire ocean passes through the oceanic crust every 10 million years; or that salt water is subducted into the Mantle in ocean plates and sediments.

In short, a lot of science has happened.

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Mike Richards

'That jellyfish is a terrible design. Not complex enough. Back to the drawing board! ;)'

But it might be immortal...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/03/jellyfish_gone_wilder/

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Mike Richards

Re: Evolved from jellyfish?

It means the proteins used in vision evolved first in jellyfish so we probably have common genetics. Our system of vision evolved much later with the first vertebrates. Nautilus has a pin hole eye whilst other cephalopods have a completely different (and in some ways superior) vision system using the same basic chemistry and genetics, the trilobites had yet another and so on...

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Hitachi buys Horizon to save UK's nuclear future

Mike Richards

Re: " Four ABWRs have already been built on time and to budget "

The AGRs were horribly over-budget and had a pretty terrible reputation for reliability when they first came onstream, but they were incredibly ambitious pieces of engineering at a time when Britain was really losing the knack for big projects and industrial relations were in the crapper.

It's a real shame as some of the ideas were good ones, such as producing steam at the same temperature and pressure as a coal-fired plant allowed commonality of equipment between stations. By the time the AGRs were commissioned their price per unit far exceeded that of the PWR which had been churned out by the hundred. So when it came to ordering Britain's third generation stations there was no choice but to go with the PWR. Which was a real shame, because once the AGRs were debugged they turned out to be pretty reliable.

I'm still trying to work out why the Canadians have never tried to sell CANDU in the UK. It addresses all the cooling problems of the PWR and the contamination of coolant in the BWR and is ready to go.

But I won't believe this announcement amounts to anything until the ground is broken. I've lost count of how many times in the last 20 years the UK has announced the go-ahead for new nuclear only for it to be cancelled when the economics intervene. After all, the price per unit and the level of government subsidy that will be required if the cost of electricity falls below the floor required for new nuclear have yet to be agreed.

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Amazon ships Kindle Fire HD, Paperwhite to Brits

Mike Richards

Re: Works for me

Very happy Kobo Glo user here.

If you're not already in the Kindle ecosystem the Glo is every bit as capable as the Kindle.

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Dyson alleges spy stole 'leccy motor secrets for Bosch

Mike Richards

World beating

I trust that's world beating as it sweeps as it cleans. God I'm getting old.

I've got one of the Dyson fans (or air multipliers as they wankily like to call them). I dunno about the hi-techtitude of the brushless motors but they sound like Concorde starting up on a cold morning.

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Chinese boffins discover bizarro fish-oid creature with FOUR LIMBS

Mike Richards

Re: They lie!

Hopefully this helpful cut-out-and-keep chart will resolve all the problems between creationism and science:

http://scienceandcreation.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/the-fossil-record-according-to.html

Did you know dinosaurs died out in 1927?

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Australian volcano starts to blow

Mike Richards

Re: A new vent?

'This would mean a new vent. Am I looking at it wrong?'

I can't tell either. But it's not impossible - almost all volcanoes have parasitic cones and fissures low on their flanks - the pressure of pushing a column of magma into the vent is often greater than that required to open a vent on the side.

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Mike Richards

Re: Don't tempt fate

Sorry to be the bringer of bad news - it's not going to go bang, it's the wrong sort of volcano.

You're looking for andesitic and rhyolitic volcanoes found in continental interiors and on island arcs. Basically you want lots of silica to make the magma sticky and lots of water and carbon dioxide to provide the 'umph!'

Unfortunately, Heard Island is fed by the Kerguelen hotspot which brings very low silica, volatile poor magma from deep inside the Mantle. The volcanoes in the hot spot are basaltic, producing lava flows, very little ash and even the occasional lava lake - something like Hawaii - but with penguins.

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Education Secretary Gove: Tim Berners-Lee 'created the INTERNET'

Mike Richards

Re: Hmm

'No, it's a balance. An excellent French teacher probably can't teach Physics, a good Computer Scientist probably can't teach the subject, without being taught how to teach'

I agree, but isn't the point of Gove's free schools to allow anyone to set up, run and teach in a school no matter what their qualifications (or otherwise)?

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EARTH was a BAKING LIFELESS DESERT for 5 MILLION years

Mike Richards

Conodonts

Conodonts are an extinct class Conodontophora; conodont elements are the hard microfossils which are used for stratigraphic purposes. They may or may not be teeth.

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Mike Richards

Re: Bah!

'What about life around the deep-water thermal vents? Is there any evidence of when that started up?'

The last time I was trawling the literature the evidence from genetic studies of the various species found around hydrothermal vents is that none of them are older than 100 million years and all have links back to well-established species found in more 'normal' conditions.

There are about half a dozen known vent provinces around the world with very little commonality of species between them. Instead it appears that different species evolve to occupy the same niches in different places.

Whether life started there remains an open question.

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Ice sheets may stabilise for centuries, regardless of warming

Mike Richards

Quick question

Has Lewis actually read the paper in question, or just the abstract or various digests?

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13-inch 'Retina Display' MacBook Pro to uncloak next Tuesday?

Mike Richards

Epoch making?

I'd have thought the cultivation of food crops and the creation of cities defined the current epoch slightly more than a slightly smaller, slightly thinner, slightly less useful laptop - but then again I'm not in marketing.

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Ukraine navy to deploy DOLPHINS WITH GUNS ON THEIR HEADS

Mike Richards

Re: Nothing new there then

And we should never forget Operation Acoustic Kitty:

'Acoustic Kitty was a CIA project launched by the Directorate of Science & Technology in the 1960s attempting to use cats in spy missions, intended to spy on the Kremlin and Soviet embassies, recording the links between the buildings in the area. A battery and a microphone were implanted into a cat and an antenna into its tail. This would allow the cats to innocuously record and transmit sound from its surroundings. Due to problems with distraction, the cat's sense of hunger had to be addressed in another operation. Surgical and training expenses are thought to have amounted to over $20 million.'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_Kitty

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Microsoft Halo 4 launch countdown continues as game leaks online

Mike Richards

Re: Gah!!

There will be a cassette version won't there?

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NURSES' natural DESIRES to be SATISFIED, by technology

Mike Richards

Treating the symptoms

So they're not getting rid of any paperwork, just giving them a piece of technology that is likely to go wrong, have a flat battery or just break.

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VR pioneer invents 'illumination-as-a-service'

Mike Richards

Ambient technologies anyone?

http://www.ambientdevices.com/

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Boffins baffled: HUGE EYEBALL washes up on Florida beach

Mike Richards

When they say 'washed up'

We shouldn't ignore the trouser-staining possibility that it 'splashed down' first.

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Amazon prices up Kindle Paperwhite for Blighty

Mike Richards

Kobo Glo

The Paperwhite costs £10 more than the Kobo Glo which has the same screen resolution but doesn't come with adverts.

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Reds in the Routers is routine, not rare

Mike Richards

What a shame he's dead

'Moreover, big name foreign tech firms such as IBM also have such committees in their China businesses, according to Tea Leaf Nation.'

I'd love to see the reaction of fascist-loving IBM founder, Thomas J Watson, to the news that the company has communist committees.

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Facebook says it's LOSING money in the UK ... pays hardly any tax

Mike Richards

Re: Company accounts

'REALLY? SO these accounts, filed at company house, should not be used to draw conclusions about the fiscal performance???'

;)

They should be running a train company.

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Mike Richards

'Facebook's European headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland.'

As opposed to Dublin, Slovakia? Please don't go down the American route of assuming the readers know nothing of geography.

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Western Australia powers up 10 MW solar farm

Mike Richards

Re: Couldn't they come up with...

Solar thermal is currently more expensive than photovoltaic, but it does have an advantage that heat can be stored in molten salt so it continues to generate through the night.

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Samsung says 'yes' to iPhone 5-sized Galaxy S III

Mike Richards

Re: It's a start

'And while we are on the topic of Nokia: what the f*ck were they thinking when they did this.'

Wow! That's even more WTF than the 3650 with the circular keypad which I thought represented the apogee of magic nose dust design.

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Apple Maps too good for Taiwanese military

Mike Richards
Joke

'Can Apple Maps actually find Taiwan though?'

It can - you just have to search for Iceland.

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Borderlands 2 review

Mike Richards

Re: They are screen shots

'It has been used in video games for a fair while too... first, IIRC, on a Playstation racing game.'

I think it was 'Jet Set Radio' (fond memories) on Dreamcast that got there first.

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Edge-of-space skydiver grounded by ANOTHER bout of bad wind

Mike Richards

Re: Learn from PARIS

Well that's the difference between good old British lets-give-it-a-go and teutonic thoroughness. Works for balloons - less well for the car industry.

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Lancashire man JAILED over April Jones Facebook posts

Mike Richards

It's on the Guardian site

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/oct/08/april-jones-teenager-jailed-facebook

It's also worth pointing out he posted them in a group set up for people concerned about the case. He went in with the intent to troll and cause offence.

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Target Silicon Valley: Why A View to a Kill actually made sense

Mike Richards

Re: Grace Jones

Keep on hula hooping Grace...

There's also a blink-and-you'll-miss-him appearance by her then boyfriend Dolph Lundgren in AVTAK. My oh my I bet they were an interesting couple.

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Mike Richards

Pumping water into faults

That much at least was based on serious engineering proposals made in the 1960s. The idea being if you pump water into fault zones you can increase the pore pressure in the rocks to a point where they overcome the sticking pressure holding the fault closed. If you could control the pressure you might be able to allow the fault to move gradually rather than in one catastrophic jolt.

It was planned to deploy it around Los Angeles where the San Andreas fault group makes a near 90 degree turn and is locked in place by the northwards movement of the Pacific plate. There have been no large 'quakes in the area in most of historic times, so the fault is under enormous pressure.

The real problem is that we don't know nearly enough about how faults break. Generally when one part of a fault breaks it transfers some of its energy into adjacent sectors of the fault, if they were close to breaking you could trigger another earthquake. So the liability issues are huge.

Also, the number of 'quakes needed to destress a fault would be massive - you'd need tens of thousands of smaller shocks to produce as much energy as is probably already accumulated in the San Andreas near LA.

The theory came about because a link was noticed between the frequency of earthquakes in Colorado and the pumping of nerve gas wastes down a deep borehole. As more liquid went down, the frequency went up. We see the same correlation around geothermal power plants which return spent well water to the reservoir, in some oil and gas fields where fluids are injected to recover more produce, and around large reservoirs where water is being forced into faultlines.

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Mike Richards

Re: Todays target...

There was some research in the 1950s into so-called salted bombs in which the shell of the bomb is turned into radioactive isotopes by neutron bombardment and is then spread on the wind. Several elements have been proposed one of which was gold 198 with a 2 day half-life.

The most famous salted bomb is the cobalt bomb which used a cobalt 59 shell to produce cobalt 60 which accumulates in the bones. It is a beta emitter, whose product is nickel 60 that spits out gamma rays. The UK tested at least one device in Australia to prove the principle (it works), but AFAIK no one ever put the bombs into service.

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LASER STRIKES against US planes on the rise

Mike Richards

Re: Ironic Punishment - use MIRRORS

Ah come on, let's not dillydally round with mirrors.

Just fit every plane with a laser guided missile (pocket edition).

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LOHAN plugs into some hot LiPo treatment

Mike Richards

Alternatively

A nice lump of plutonium would keep the whole thing warm indefinitely and you'd easily find it afterwards. You should ask BNFL if they could lend you a chunk.

Seriously, what's the worst that could happen?

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