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* Posts by Mike Richards

3578 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Assange chums must cough up £93,500 bail over embassy lurk

Mike Richards
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Perhaps he can pay them back

From the money he earned as a presenter for that bastion for freedom of expression 'Russia Today'?

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GCHQ boss: Crypto-genius Turing brought tech to British spooks

Mike Richards
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Re: HOLD ON!

'There is buried Turing treasure somewhere!!!?'

It's probably under Milton Keynes. You might do the world a failure by digging the place up.

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Bone-bothering boffins pull TINY fanged dinosaur from drawers

Mike Richards
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The scariest hands in all dinosaurdom?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Therizinosaurus_claw.jpg

Despite the Freddy Kruger tribute act, Therizinosaurus was almost certainly a herbivore

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Whopping supersonic-car rocket rattles idyllic Cornwall

Mike Richards
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Re: Coolness check-list

They do seem to be missing a shed.

Although 'hardened bunker' might just qualify if they put some flowerpots outside.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Elephants

'cavernous vaginas'

Ah they were a fantastic band.

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From Russia with gov: PM Medvedev glad-hands Zuckerberg

Mike Richards
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Re: completes what the KGB never quite managed

'keeps tabs on whole population'

Thanks for clearing that up - I was wondering what a 'Facebook research centre' was.

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Svalbard overtakes medieval summers

Mike Richards
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Re: I can't agree

"The nitrogen is transported with air currents and reaches the ground in rain or snow."

They are referring to nitrogen compounds such as ammonia or nitric acid which are available for plant growth rather than molecular nitrogen.

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Icelandic town demands vulva museum

Mike Richards
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Re: 25 years old?

It's only 25 years since Mosfellsbær received a municipal charter and became a town in its own regard. Having said that, it's pretty much submerged in all the meh suburbs and industry of the Greater Reykjavik area.

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Japanese boffins unfurl banner above newly-discovered Element 113

Mike Richards
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Re: Dumb Question

It's not a dumb question.

There's a theory that atomic nuclei contain shells of particles akin to the shells of electrons which convey their chemical properties. As the shells in the nucleus fill up the atom should become more stable and will have a longer halflife than those with only partially filled shells.

This is why it is believed that heavier elements round about 120 will start showing longer half lives and form an 'island of stability'. Some of these elements might have half lives measured in years or even millions of years, so they might have some use.

There's also an interesting chemical question that these new elements should obey the rules of the Groups to which they belong. For instance element 117 (provisionally ununseptium) belongs to Group 17 - the halogens; whilst 118 (temporarily called ununoctium) *should* belong to Group 18 in the periodic table - the Noble gases. If these elements don't obey the rules predicted by their position in the Periodic Table then our understanding of the elements will need to be revised. And that is Nobel Prize territory.

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Mike Richards
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If the Japanese discover the Island of Stability

Will the Chinese claim it?

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TalkTalk's YouView box gets Ab Fab reception

Mike Richards
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'linear television'

Am I dreadfully out of date in not having a clue what that means?

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Tibetan STATUE found by 1930s NAZI expedition is of ALIEN ORIGIN

Mike Richards
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'Himmler's Crusade' by Chris Hale has the story of this expedition

And what the participants got up to after they got back to Germany (slight spoiler - not a happy ending).

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Mighty quake shook ENTIRE PLANET, broke tectonic plate

Mike Richards
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'“slip-strike”, an unusual type of earthquake that sees the crust split'

By definition any fault splits the crust. A strike slip sees adjacent sections of crust slide horizontally past one another with only limited vertical movement. Normal faults pull the crust apart whilst thrust faults shorten the crust by pushing one section of the crust over another.

Strike slips aren't that unusual either. The world's most famous earthquake zone along the Pacific coast of America is dominated by strike slip faults (of which the San Andreas is merely one). Other big strike slips are the Great Glen Fault in Scotland which still has occasional wobblies, the highly active Alpine fault that runs the length of New Zealand, and the North Anatolian Fault which runs through northern Turkey including not too far from Istanbul.

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Analogue TV snuffs it tonight on UK mainland

Mike Richards
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Good news...

...with the analogue switch off we're finally safe from those pesky 'Poltergeist' ghosts.

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DON'T PANIC: Arctic methane emissions have been going on for ages

Mike Richards
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Hold on...

This research is just saying that methane has been degassed from submarine sediments for hundreds of years and that it is probably not a result of warming.

It says nothing whether the warming we're seeing will result in more outgassing in the future.

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Made for each other: liquid nitrogen and 1,500 ping-pong balls

Mike Richards
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Re: That's learning of today (the future)?

It can also be used to show why it's not a good idea to have a beachfront property in Pompeii when gas comes out of solution in a nearby magma chamber.

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OLYMPIC SECRETS to stay locked up for 15 YEARS

Mike Richards
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Re: NINE BILLION POUNDS

'probably that it was a lot more than 9Billion - I'd bet there's another 3 in there somewhere.'

Before or after the nine?

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UK electric car funding - another subsidy for the RICH, say MPs

Mike Richards
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Subsidies

MPs are complaining about taxpayers subsidising the lifestyles of the rich. How much did they claim in expenses again?

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Mike Richards
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Re: Plug in cars ain't green.

Yes they did:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupolev_Tu-119

Killed off by the ICBM.

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Fans rap Apple's 'crap' Map app

Mike Richards
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Re: Shit-for-brains Archeaologist

He never said he was an archaeologist.

He might be an archaeology student in which case he can see sites from all around the world. Or he might just be an enthusiast with a passion for history.

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Want a Leica camera from Jony Ive? There CAN BE ONLY ONE

Mike Richards
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Re: Bono Related Charity?

If it's Product RED then there are always better ways of giving money to charity. In RED a product is authorised to carry the logo and a percentage (not specified) of the profits go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Whereas you could just donate money to a charity directly and not have to pay the overheads of RED.

RED has in the past even gone so far to say that it exists to 'raise awareness' of issues. Which is largely done by giving slebs stupidly expensive goodie bags to attend an exclusive party somewhere.

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Ten backpacks for tech-heads

Mike Richards
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Kata

I use a Kata 3n1-22 to carry a laptop and SLR equipment. Very comfortable indeed and it has plenty of high-tech cleverness including the ability to turn into a sling bag for quick access to a camera. It comes with a funky yellow rain cover and the interior is finished in the same bright yellow so no blundering around in the gloom looking for a lens cover.

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Key evidence in Assange case dissolves

Mike Richards
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Re: Examining the contents of an old condom...

Must be like interviewing Rupert Murdoch.

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Apple admits iCloud 'unacceptable', vows to not go titsup again

Mike Richards
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Nothing new here

iCloud went down for 3 days for me a couple of weeks ago. Once again Apple said it was to do with software updates on their servers, very small number of people affected, etc.

Lucky I don't rely on it for anything vital, but why iCloud is actually an improvement on the hopeless and horrible MobileMe, the impossibly dreadful .Mac and the simply unspeakable iTools. You'd have thought they'd have either fixed it by now or taken it out the back and put a bullet through its head.

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Work for beer, Neil Gaiman's wife tells musicians

Mike Richards
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Re: What about the Portsmouth Sinfonia?

'Is her husband the same Neil Gaiman who wrote a Doctor Who episode last year?'

Yup.

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Reg hack uncovers perfect antidote to internet

Mike Richards
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Re: Not even a hard-hat ?

All of which are good reasons to only ever dig wells using high explosives.

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Mike Richards
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That's not a well...

...that's a missile silo.

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Post-pub nosh deathmatch prompts paprika potato pierogi

Mike Richards
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Re: Suggestions for a 3-way...

Svið versus súrsaðir hrútspungar versus selshreifar

If your Icelandic is less than fluent that is:

Singed and boiled sheep's head* versus whey preserved pressed ram's testicles** versus seal flippers cured in lactic acid

* or the child-size portion of half a sheep's head

** no longer attached to the ram

If anyone is really feeling manly there is a whole menu of similar horrors served in Iceland during Þorri (late January to February) called Þorramatur. The full list is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9Eorramatur

The mystery of why Icelandic cooking hasn't taken the world by storm only deepens. Although I could murder some harðfiskur right now.

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Windows Phone 8 stands a chance as Apple, Android dither

Mike Richards
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Re: Contact cards

It took a little bit of effort to get Google calendars to sync with my Lumia (the phone needed to be set to American English for m.google.com to recognise it as a WP7), but since then it has been spookily good. Since my last experience was the 'will it? won't it?' syncing of iCal, this has been a breath of fresh air.

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Humanity facing GLOBAL BACON SHORTAGE

Mike Richards
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The alternative Reg expert viewpoint

This is clearly nothing more than scaremongering by an organised lobby seeking to destroy our economies. Everyone knows that bacon availability has fluctuated throughout human history and in fact bacon today is almost certainly less crispy than when the Vikings settled in Greenland. Making projections like this on little more than computer models doesn't take account of Thames frost fairs or the Maunder Minimum and just because the majority of bacon experts are adamant we are heading into a crisis doesn't mean we should continue to change our behaviour. We will always be able to find more bacon so long as we ignore the Green lobby and start fracking for shale bacon.

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Dreaded redback spider's NEMESIS: Forgotten Captain Cook wasps

Mike Richards
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Re: Not as pretty - or scary

Hold on - a 3 inch long WASP????

[Crosses another holiday destination off the map]

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Mike Richards
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Re: So...

Ozzie boffins can now breed bigger wasps capable of dragging cane toads back to their nests to feed the wasplings - there is literally nothing that could possibly go wrong with this scenario.

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Swedish cops contain fermented herring menace

Mike Richards
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Re: Surströming - a timed bio-weapon!

Cans of surströmming are banned on flights for all too-obvious reasons.

Well-prepared hákarl can clear a restaurant. This summer a friend (foolishly) wanted to try it. Despite my protestations, and those of the restaurant owner - who said 'it's terrible!' he got his half dozen cubes of shark, picked one up on a cocktail stick and started chewing, and chewing and chewing - because not only is it appalling to taste and to smell - it has the consistency of an insole. Then the horror began, one cube fell from the cocktail stick and bounced on to the floor (and my how it bounced). You know those movies where the hand grenade rolls through a room with people diving to avoid the blast until the hero throws themself on it and grabs the lever? Like that except replace 'hand grenade' with 'shark' and 'hero' with 'plucky Icelandic waitress'.

There is something even worse, the Icelandic festival of Þorláksmessa (23rd December) features picked putrefying skate topped off with hamsatólg - melted sheep fat. Many of those who chow down on hákarl, wolf down the sheep's testicles and think nothing of sucking on the eyeball in a half-sheep's head refuse to try the skate.

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Viewsonic 22in Android 'tablet' hands-on review

Mike Richards
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22" tablet

Presumably the 22" phone will follow?

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Fanboi beats 'e-trespassing' rap after using GPS to find stolen iPad

Mike Richards
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Re: Odd system

'and since you can't be prosecuted for something you did before it was illegal...'

Yes you can. The UK has created a number of so-called ex post facto laws including the 1991 War Crimes Act and various bits of taxation law to crack down on tax avoidance schemes. Technically the European Convention on Human Rights forbids ex post facto *criminal* laws, but some of Britain's brightest legal brains (notably Lord Denning) have said the Convention is overridden by Parliamentary Supremacy.

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Pasty munchers scoff at £300m council deal with comms kingpins

Mike Richards
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Re: It's think it's very refreshing

'Coincidentally does their IT planning bod have a name like 'Nostradamus' ?'

Merlin surely?

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UK ice boffin: 'Arctic melt equivalent to 20 years of CO2'

Mike Richards
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Re: More self-agrandizing nonesense

' Germany is opening coal plants, Spain is cutting subsidies to solar power.'

Germany is increasing its coal-fired electricity production because it is closing down its nuclear fleet and Spain is cutting subsidies to solar because its economy is - technical term approaching - fucked. Neither of these decisions have anything to do with the evidence in climate change.

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Mike Richards
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'Surely the Arctic was warmer a thousand years ago when Scandinavians settled in Greenland to farm?'

The Norse didn't settle the Arctic areas of Greenland, only the very margins in the far south.

But to answer your question - the settlement was from about 980CE into an environment slightly cooler than modern Greenland, and cooling from its maximum. Even at the best it was a lousy climate and the Norse only really survived because they could import materials from Norway, Iceland and (briefly) North America. Their agricultural economy was taken from their experience of Norway and Iceland - marginal pasture and hay to see their animals through the winters. As the climate cooled the growing season collapsed and they followed it into extinction.

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Why is the iPhone so successful? 'Cause people love 'em

Mike Richards
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Alternatively

That so many people are prepared to jump to the new iPhone suggests they're happy to keep buying Apple products.

And that's their choice, personally I dumped iPhone because they've all been mediocre phones with poor reception and call quality.

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Amazon pitches cheap new Kindles for Blighty

Mike Richards
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Re: Sulk

Yep, disappointed here too.

At a guess - supply of the larger Fire and the Paperwhite are going to be limited for a few months and Amazon are concentrating on their home market. Hopefully they'll get round to remembering us before long.

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Sony Vaio 11 Duo hybrid PC hands on review

Mike Richards
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One thing you can be sure of

Judging by the prices of their netbookalikes, Sony is going to give this an insane price which will guarantee it'll disappear almost without trace.

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Elon Musk says he's planning a 'supersonic, electric hover jetplane'

Mike Richards
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Re: Iron man 2

Hopefully we won't have to wait long for Elon Musk to unveil his crime-fighting super suit.

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Ten 15in notebooks for under 400 quid

Mike Richards
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Re: Backs and second hand laptops

Another vote here for a reconditioned Thinkpad as the ideal school/uni-on-a-budget machine. Best keyboard by far and it'll survive being thrown in a bag.

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Leaked Genius Bar manual shows Apple's smooth seductions

Mike Richards
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Re: Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

Finding out that Apple wants customers to think they care only deepens the mystery of why Apple Retail is run by the ex-head of Dixons.

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Low sunspot activity linked to rivers freezing: Mini Ice Age on way?

Mike Richards
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Re: News?

The Thames certainly did freeze during that period and no longer does, but much of that is down to the manmade changes to the lower river. The old London bridge caused the river to pool upstream. When it was replaced, water could flow more freely and was less likely to freeze. Likewise, the construction of the two embankments confined the river to a narrower channel which prevents freezing.

This study has one shortcoming, they've chosen one river. If they can repeat the trial with another - such as the Danube or the Elbe then the results will be much more significant.

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Curiosity rover hijacked by will.i.am to debut science song

Mike Richards
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Re: Jeez, what next?

What the author of the piece hasn't told you is that will.i.am has given several million dollars to science, technology and maths education in deprived areas of the US and UK. Whether you like his music (come on someone must) or not is a lot of money going to kids who need all the help they can.

http://iamangelfoundation.org/

Yes it's publicity for him, but if it means some kid might get a better education I'm all for it.

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Arctic ice shrinks to ‘smallest in satellite era’ - NASA

Mike Richards
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Re: Question is, what caused it.

A stats team from Reading have just published work on human versus natural contributions to Arctic melting. They estimate 30% of melting is down to long term natural cycles in the Arctic, 70% from human emissions. Summary, video and links to the article here:

http://www.reading.ac.uk/news-and-events/releases/PR457684.aspx

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New nuclear fuel source would power human race until 5000AD

Mike Richards
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Quick political question

Will this energy be available to everyone?

Say - Iran and North Korea?

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Mike Richards
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Re: Thorium rocks

Actually the biggest roadblock is economic. Making the numbers add up for fission has eluded pretty much everyone so far unless they can externalise most of the costs on to the taxpayer.

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LOHAN turns up the heat on Vulture 2 motor

Mike Richards
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How much heat is in a nice cup of tea?

That'd be the proper boffin way to keep things warm.

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