* Posts by Mike Richards

3605 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Australian volcano starts to blow

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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Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales marries Kate Garvey

Mike Richards

Campbell

Before purveying fiction for the government, he was an author of soft-core porn including the immortal 'Busking with Bagpipes', which includes such immortal lines as:

'a little known aphrodisiac - the dangling pipes of Scotland...It's all tongues and teeth, lips and gentle squeezes... As I lie on a Lisbon hotel bed next to a Portuguese person crying out for more, I thank my pipes for doing most of the chatting up.'

A crime against good writing surely, but much less damaging than his subsequent career.

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

Mike Richards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'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

'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

'“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Must be like interviewing Rupert Murdoch.

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