Feeds

* Posts by Mike Richards

3579 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

50 years in SPAAAAACE: Telstar celebrates half-century since launch

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Echo and SCORE

'Telstar wasn't the first satellite to bounce radio signals, that was "Courier 1B" from whose name one can identify as a military project'

Courier 1B is pre-dated by Echo 1 which was a passive communication satellite - nothing more than big reflective mylar balloon which reflected signals. Echo 2 followed in 1964 by which time it had been superceded by active satellites.

SCORE was the first satellite to broadcast from space, it could play pre-recorded messages and receive new ones for later broadcast.

Courier was the first active satellite which received, amplified and rebroadcast radio signals in real time.

4
0

Global warming: It's GOOD for the environment

Mike Richards
Silver badge

One problem with this scenario

Is that a good part of the savannah is being turned into agricultural land rather than being allowed to afforest. Farm land is a poor carbon sink and also brings other environmental problems such as the need for synthetic nitrogen and large amounts of phosphorus.

0
0

Watch out for the GIGANTIC ALIEN JELLYFISH, warns space boffin

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: those aren't her ideas

Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos' featured a painting of (and I have to use the word) blobominations in Jupiter's atmosphere, based on work by Sagan and a colleague from Cornell, Ernest Salpeter. They knew the planet's interior was rich in organic molecules and warm, so life wasn't out of the question.

2
0

Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Haggis pakora v huevos rancheros

Mike Richards
Silver badge

These are all warm-up acts

I can't wait for Lester's hákarl versus surströmming death-match.

0
0

NatWest seeks volunteers to bonk with their iPhones

Mike Richards
Silver badge

'assuming one can demonstrate to the bank's satisfaction that fraud has been committed'

Sorry, just have to laugh at the thought of post-Libor RBS being fit to arbitrate on whether fraud has taken place.

2
1

UK is first class for train Wi-Fi in Europe

Mike Richards
Silver badge

First Great Western

Is there WiFi on any of FGW's trains? Or is this another service they've neglected - along with customer service, punctuality, sufficient trains and new rolling stock?

0
0
Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: F***

How much work can you do on a train when you're folded double into a luggage rack and looking enviously at the bloke whose paid £3000 quid for a season ticket entitling him to travel in the toilet?

2
0

Ten... alien invasions

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: War of the Worlds deserves a place in history

Doctor Who has had an alien invasion of Earth pretty much every week - Daleks trundling across Westminster Bridge, Yetis in the Underground, Krynoids lurking round Mick Jagger's mansion, mummies lurching around the same mansion, Julian Glover pulling his face off in Paris, and Cybermen (yes they are aliens) stomping around St. Pauls just being some of the better ones.

1
0

Who runs UK? 'Tories, Lib Dems and Google' says Labour

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Harman's just upset that Google is opposed to Labour's official policy of censoring web searches in the UK.

7
2

BAE proposes GPS-less location

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Bring back LORAN

'Oh, and is it El Reg or BAE who can't spell opportunity?'

If only BAE's problems were simply limited to spelling.

I'm going to bet this system will have all of BAE's usual technical brilliance and sophistication - 'You are now flying over Iran - probably.'

0
0

UK.gov proposes massive copyright land snatch

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: (c) teh interwebz

'They've got guns, too.'

Yeah but they were built by BAE so we're probably okay.

6
0

The Grundy NewBrain is 30

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Picture - bottom of Page 3

What's in the big box behind the computer that the monitor is standing on?

0
0

NASA counts down to nuclear tank invasion of Mars

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: How long...

After a good run of missions, the Americans lost Mars Observer in 1992, Climate Orbiter in 1998 and Polar Lander / Deep Space 2 in 1999. The UK then lost Beagle 2 in 2003. Since then its been nothing but successes apart from - oh dear - the Russians again with Fobos-Grunt.

0
0
Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Computers are good for this:

"We've got literally seven minutes to get from the top of the atmosphere to the surface of Mars, going from 13,000 miles an hour to zero in perfect sequence, perfect choreography, perfect timing,"

Actually sounds that like the judging on 'Strictly Come Dancing'

0
0

'Inexperienced' RBS tech operative's blunder led to banking meltdown

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Anyone checked

Where the BOFH is working these days?

3
0

Mensch pal Bozier defends Menshn security, dubs critics 'snippy geeks'

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Up and down - oh its up / down again

Louise Mensch recommended that Facebook and Twitter should be turned off when there may be a riot. Perhaps her site is just practicing?

1
0

Antarctic ice shelves not melting at all, new field data show

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Dont' trust any scientists

'A quake that hasn't done that mcuh change to ground levels in any history.'

You're quite right - apart from (OTTOMH) the Chile 'quake of 1961 (2m), the Cascadia 'quake of 1700 (1.5m), Owens Valley in 1872 (4.5m), Hebgen Lake, Montana in 1956 (6.7m) - an intraplate earthquake at that....

1
0

Tesco exec brands UltraViolet 'too complicated' for Brits

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Is it my imagination?

But has the triple-format Blu-Ray + DVD + digital download package pretty much disappeared from recent movie releases?

I quite liked it as it offered a top-quality disk for the big screen, a DVD for the kids to trash and a digital copy for travelling, but none of the big movies released in the last few months seem to have it. I wonder if they're planning on replacing it with UV?

0
0

Neo-Nazis scoop YouTube ad revenue from UK telcos

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Jesus said he will come back and slaughter us all....

'Actually the evidence appears to show that Jesus was an invention created using examples of previous imagined 'prophets' with very similar actions and supernatural powers.'

Ah, just like the way Marvel keeps rebooting its comic universe when sales fall.

3
0

Alan Turing 100: Visionary, war winner ... game maker?

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Paper chess

Turing and David Champernowne invented the Turochamp algorithm in 1948. Without a computer to hand, they played games where one player impersonated the machine, following the algorithm rather than using their own game playing skill.

Turochamp definitely lost to Glennie in 1952, but there were earlier games which have not been recorded in detail, including one where it defeated Champernowne's wife.

0
0

Mars has more water than thought

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Not wanting to worry anyone

But hydroxylapatite is found in bones and teeth.

Has CMU been experimenting on Martians? And will their descendants swear vengeance on the Earthmen who disturbed their eternal rest and bring fire and destruction to our planet?

Now that would be a press-release.

0
0

Tech fault at RBS and Natwest freezes millions of UK bank balances

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: HSBC are just as 'good'.

Those automated paying-in machines are useless. They seem to need as many staff on hand to help people use the wretched technology as were once employed behind the counter processing cheques and making payments. I assume there has been a saving somewhere, but I'm damned if I can work out where.

1
2
Mike Richards
Silver badge

Hold on - isn't RBS / NatWest taxpayer owned? So that £30 is coming out of our pockets!

Not a good day for this to happen when it's expected Moody will downgrade the bank's creditworthiness later today.

0
0

Finnish PM rules out Nokia rescue package

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Funny how everybody could see this coming...

With the exception of its patent portfolio, is Nokia worth anything to anyone other than Microsoft? The company has tied its future so tightly to Windows Phone that turning it round to manufacture - say - Android handsets would surely be such a massive task that it could founder before anything came to market.

I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft took a large equity stake in Nokia real soon now, if only to keep those lovely patents close to hand and avoid the company slipping away.

2
0

Larry Ellison buys island 1000x bigger than Branson's

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Eeep!

Larry's got an extinct volcano to call his own. Has anyone checked if any of our nuclear submarines have gone missing?

4
0

Assange takes refuge in Ecuadorian embassy

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Why didn't he?

Just pop in and see his friends in the Russian embassy? He's been a loyal contributor to the Putin-friendly RT channel for some time now, you'd think they'd owe him a favour for all his fawning west-bashing interviews.

0
4

China aims to redraw the petaflop graph with 100 Pflops in 2015

Mike Richards
Silver badge

What's it for?

Have the Chinese said what they're using these supercomputers for? I wonder if they're simulating nuclear explosions like the US is doing to avoid resuming nuclear testing.

0
0

Earthquakes will release captured carbon: Stanford study

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Basalt

Injecting carbon dioxide and water into basalt leaches calcium and magnesium ions from the lava to form solid carbonates which remain deep underground. A trial called CarbFix is already underway at the Hellisheiðivirkjun power plant near Reykjavik.

1
0

America's X-37B top-secret spaceplane returns to Earth

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Used to be a NASA project

Boeing are closing the California plant where the plane was built and Congress are questioning the project's value so its future is pretty uncertain.

What might keep it going is news that China is beginning testing of its Shenlong spaceplane. Nothing like a bit of Cold War style rivalry to keep cool stuff coming.

1
0

Nokia after the purge: It's so unfair

Mike Richards
Silver badge

'Nokia is by some distance the most important and accomplished European technology company – and it still remains so today.'

Wouldn't that accolade belong to ARM?

8
1

Microsoft next-gen Xbox details leak

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Blu-Ray drive?

Not having Blu-Ray slashed the cost of the 360 and allowed Microsoft to beat Sony to market. The beancounters were very happy with that decision.

2
1

Another investor pulls out of Habbo Hotel after grooming claims

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: One more time...

The company claims the site is moderated, but Channel 4 found that there were places on it called 'naughty nightclub' and 'sexy stripclub' - but this isn't picked up by their software or bods?

0
0
Mike Richards
Silver badge

Plural of chaos

Is chaoses.

0
0

£CHING: ICANN bags $357m from 1,930 dot-word domains

Mike Richards
Silver badge

So that's $185,000 * how many words in the dictionary? even before lawyer fees.

0
0

Reborn UK internet super-snooper charter to be unveiled today

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: I hade to laugh

'They want to monitor gaming sites, facebook and so many other high traffic websites where exactly are they going to store all this data in a format thats searchable?'

Might be time to train in big data handling. I suspect a lot of very well paid, completely useless jobs will be created by this policy.

3
0
Mike Richards
Silver badge

The only explanation

Is that there's something in the water supply at the Home Office. No matter which politician is appointed to the position, sooner or later, they're gibbering about needing massive new surveillance powers. Hell there was even a time when David Blunkett seemed to be sane, a quick trip to the Home Office and he was - well - you know.

So who's going to make a bet against the Conservatives announcing a review into the practicality of ID cards in the near future?

(I assume Labour will enthusiastically back this proposal - creepy mass surveillance seems to be in their DNA)

10
0

Music SEVEN times more valuable to UK plc than first thought

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Well now its so much more valuable

What's the betting the labels will be demanding even more draconian laws and fighting even harder against any possibility of UK users getting fair use of the stuff they buy?

1
0

New UK curriculum ramps up lessons in SPAAAACE

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Shocked I tell you....

Sadly under Gove, academy schools can follow their own curriculums provided they are 'balanced'.

So there are religious schools planned which will be teaching creationist / intelligent design/ lying to children in the UK.

But the pressing question has to be does the proposal tell us if Pluto is a planet or not?

3
1

10m years ago there was less CO2 - but the Earth was WARMER

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Pedant

The Miocene is not a period, it is an epoch ranging from 23.4 Mya to 5.3 Mya, it's divided into six stages (or ages). The Miocene and the Pliocene together form the Neogene period.

The Miocene is a bit of a bugger climatologically, generally the early part of the epoch sees a cooling as the Antarctic ice sheet established in the Eocene grew and the establishment of the circumpolar current in the Antarctic Ocean, but at the same time the proto-Mediterranean dried out entirely as the Alps rose which caused temperatures across Eurasia to rise. The later Miocene is generally warmer than the present climate.

Work done in 2011 in Bremerhaven suggests the warming climate in the late Miocene can be put down to changes in vegetation patterns across the world causing a slight darkening of the planet.

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011GL048873.shtml

5
0

Space shuttle Enterprise makes final voyage – to New York

Mike Richards
Silver badge

How long will Enterprise's aluminium airframe survive in a salty, damp environment?

1
0

Legendary sci-fi fantasy author Ray Bradbury exits planet Earth

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Something Wicked This Way Comes

One of the best evocations of childhood and parenthood I've ever read.

His prose was gorgeous and his ideas amazing - it'll be a long time before we see Mr Bradbury's like again - if ever.

2
0

Flying Dutchman creates dead cat quadcopter

Mike Richards
Silver badge

It's lacking something...

...oh I know - a Playmobilnaut!

Any chance El Reg's Iberian Special Projects Dept can team up with Transonic Pussy* and produce a video of the motorised moggy cruising the skies?

* They were huge in the 1980s.

0
0
Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: his own cat? is that even legal?

'I don't know if it lacks taste as I've never eaten dead cat.'

Have you been to a Harvester before?

2
0

US military gives NASA two better-than-Hubble telescopes

Mike Richards
Silver badge

ESA?

Any chance NASA would like to hold the hat out and make this an international mission along with ESA, Roscosmos and the Chinese space agency?

0
0

Earth bathed in high-energy radiation from colossal mystery blast

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Terrestrial origin

Chain reactions can't happen in natural uranium on Earth as the level of fissile U235 is too low to sustain the reaction. Well it is now - if you go back in time, the proportion of U235 in uranium rises to a point that self-sustaining reactions could occur. So far one site is known where this happened, it was discovered at Oklo, Gabon in 1972 by French geologists mapping a uranium deposit. They discovered the level of U235 at Oklo was even lower than normal. About 1.7 billion years ago, the ore would have been about 3% U235 (compared to about 0.7% today), water circulating through a uranium ore acted as a natural moderator allowing a self-sustaining chain reaction to run at very low power for hundreds of thousands of years.

Personally I go with the idea that this C14 spike was caused by Camelot's nuclear testing programme.

2
0

LOHAN sucks Reg reader's instrument to death

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Big fan of the bricks

I can't help but think this project's inspiration, the world's favourite celebrity morgue attendant, should also carry a few bricks around to stop herself falling over at regular intervals.

Well done Lester, you're very much Britain's own Elon Musk.

1
0

Jeremy Hunt 'sympathetic' to Murdoch's BSkyB bid

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Not going to resign yet

After all, he's got all those free Olympic tickets so long as he's Culture Minister.

1
0

Scandal-hit Olympus plans to axe staff, flog off stake – reports

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Not the last

Sony's imaging division is in good health and is the component supplier for many other big companies - Nikon uses Sony sensors for instance. I think Sony have already gobbled up Olympus' medical imaging business.

0
0

Self-driving Volvos cover 200km of busy Spanish motorway

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Worried

'Sure, a computer doesn't get tired, a computer doesn't get distracted and computers can be made to behave consistently. But human "hardware" is more reliable than computer hardware.'

A computer doesn't get bored or tired, it doesn't get distracted by the pretty young girl driving the red Mini in the other lane (hello!) and it doesn't get into a fight with its spouse for looking at the pretty young girl driving the red Mini in the other lane (of course I don't know her!)

4
0

'Biocoal' fuels steam train comeback

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Efficiency on a par with diesel??

'All this coming from the country that brought us the atomic age'

I think you're on to something - how about a nuclear-powered steam engine?

1
0