* Posts by Mike Richards

3579 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Nokia on 'brink of failure', warns analyst

Mike Richards

Mr Ballmer to the stage please

It's time for the 'Developers! Developers! Developers!' dance.

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Death Star dinosaur aliens could rule galaxy

Mike Richards

Re: Extinction Level Events

You've seen our Cabinet I trust?

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Most anticipated videogames of 2012 revealed

Mike Richards

Re: My list

Don't get too excited - it's probably not out until next year.

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Nokia drops Lumia 900 price to $0 in response to bug outrage

Mike Richards

Ooops

Well it could be worse. Imagine the embarrasment if Nokia had run an advertising campaign mocking other companies for releasing buggy phones...

http://youtu.be/quoelNJxR-o

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MPs: Border Agency's own staff don't trust airport-scanner tech

Mike Richards

Re: Anyone ever seen the e-gates at Luton working?

I used the e-Gates at Heathrow Terminal 3 a month or so ago. Thanks to millions of Pounds spent on high technology it only takes about five times as long to clear immigration as using the old method of going and talking to someone.

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Vintage alien tech crash-lands in field

Mike Richards

43,385,325 years

But to be fair most of them will be spent on the M6 northbound.

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UK retailers start taking Nokia Lumia 900 orders

Mike Richards

Re: I don't understand...

'Can someone please explain to me why the WinPho UI does not seem to fit on the screen?'

It's there to tell the user that not everything in this 'hub' is visible at the moment, if the user swipes to the right, the rest of the label and whatever is lurking over there comes into view. I quite like it as an approach for putting lots of content on a small screen, but until you see it move it really does look odd.

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Sky News admits two counts of computer hacking

Mike Richards

"We do not tolerate wrong-doing. That's why we commissioned, at our own initiative, reviews of payments and email records at Sky News," a company spokesman said. "I'm pleased to say those reviews did not reveal any illegal or unethical behavior."

Didn't News International say something very similar when it investigated its own actions regarding the News of the World?

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Google shows off Project Glass augmented reality specs

Mike Richards

'Finally, at the end when he says 'want to see something cool?', I was really hoping that he was going to throw himself off of the roof of the building and the last shot would be the rapidly approaching ground.'

LOL

Very 'Strange Days'

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Feathered Tyrannosaurus uncovered in China

Mike Richards

Re: Now that's what I call ...

It would however make for an epic version of Sesame Street.

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Blighty's new top supercomputer bagged by software boffins

Mike Richards

The tower

What do you reckon the boffins get up to in that futuristic looking tower at the top of the photo?

I reckon its where they spend all their time dropping slices of toast to see if they land butter side down.

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Nuke plant owners to pay out up to £1bn per balls-up

Mike Richards

Sounds a lot...

Until you realise that the cleanup of Three Mile Island nearly two decades ago cost about that much and Tepco's liabilities for Fukushima are somewhere around the $59 billion mark. Yes nuclear power is pretty damn safe, but the companies are still not bearing the true costs.

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UK net super-snooping clashes with Euro privacy law - expert

Mike Richards

Re: Have the tabloids calmed down yet?

Balanced debate would be nice but it's somewhat undermined by government ministers announcing plans in the nakedly partisan 'Sun' rather than in Parliament.

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Home Sec: Web snoop law will snare PAEDOS, TERRORISTS

Mike Richards

So she writes an opinion piece in The Sun (who's attitude to lorranorder is best summarised as flog-em-an-hang-em-and-flog-em-again-for-a-good-measure) outlining her proposals and *then* tells Parliament.

Remind me, didn't the Tories berate New Labour for doing just this?

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ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. - Humans begin artificial CO2 emissions

Mike Richards

Re: Britain responsible??

The steam and gas turbines are both British so we'll claim them too - so that's one million points to the British and 1 point to the Germans.

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Star's guts turned INSIDE OUT in supernova mega-blast

Mike Richards

Re: Is this why lots of asteroids are made of Iron?

Supernovae are certainly where the iron in the universe comes from.

About 10% of asteroids contain sizeable amounts of iron and are classified as M-Type bodies. They show show in the early solar system, dust particles seeded with iron from supernovae accreted into planetismals some of which became large enough and hot enough, through impacts and radioactive heating to fractionate with the dense iron and nickel sinking towards the core. A few tens or hundreds of millions of years later, some of these bodies were in turn smashed up by major impacts producing asteroids and iron meteorites.

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O2 Wi-Fi slips into McDonalds, steals The Cloud's lunch

Mike Richards

Re: All for one and one for all

Some McDonalds are being refitted to go all upmarket - well upmarket from say Burger King. Amongst the newness are row after row of tethered iPads - all of which come with 'The Sun' app. Although the reading age is well suited to small children, I wouldn't call the paper's content suitable for children.

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What does the Titanic's sinking tell us about modern science?

Mike Richards

Re: "...which has trawled through some old shipyard records..."

The theory of bad steel or bad rivets doesn't really hold water (ahem) when you think her sister ship, the Olympic, performed sterling service in those very same waters until 1935. Olympic not only had a nasty habit of hitting other ships in the cold Atlantic, but once ran down a U-boat - all without any major hull defects. Olympic was only taken out of service at that point because the merger of White Star and Cunard which left the company with too much tonnage for the TransAtlantic routes.

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Coders' 'lives sucked out' by black-and-white Visual Studio 11

Mike Richards

Re: Mac or FORTRAN?

Apple's also been ignoring interface designers for quite some time now. If it's not the horrible faux-reality interfaces of the new Address Book or the Calendar, it is (as the article says) the colour-vampire interfaces that have been foisted users with the grey-on-grey-with-grey-highlights favoured by iTunes. Apple have also produced some pretty nasty 'professional' interfaces in products like Aperture and Final Cut which can only be described as 'Depressing'. Frankly they both need to be taken out and recreationally beaten to death with a shovel.

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Adam Sandler's cross-dresser shocker is Razzies stonker

Mike Richards

Re: Its Cobblers

Better or worse than [insert name of Robin Williams feel-good-family-movie-here]?

Because I very nearly walked out of 'RV'.

I was 40,000ft over Greenland at the time.

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Sugar content now to be measured in Cadbury Creme Eggs

Mike Richards

I salute you

Passing high voltages and currents through random stuff in the pursuit of knowledge.

Have you tried a doughnut?

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Exploding dinosaur theory EXPLODED

Mike Richards

Obligatory link

We're talking about exploding marine animals (again) and no one has linked to this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Vmnq5dBF7Y

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Mike Richards

Bloat 'n float

Is an accepted palaeontological term for when terrestrial fossils are found in marine sediments. The dead beasty gets all puffy and bob, bob, bobs down a river until it goes flat and sinks to the bottom.

Unless of course they all died in the Flood.

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LOHAN demonstrates impressive sucking skills

Mike Richards

This is going to bugger the search engine results

Including the words LOHAN, suck, ejaculation and lube in an aerospace engineering page should lead to a lot of disappointed smutmongers. Well done Lester, you deserve your beer.

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Sky boffins: The Moon is not Earth's only natural satellite

Mike Richards

The Earth has one permanent natural satellite - the Moon. There are however a number of objects that are in 1:1 resonances with the Earth which are called quasi-satellites. The orbit of a quasi-satellite is not stable over the long term and the object will eventually go off into another orbit around the Sun.

There are five quasi-satellites of Earth: 3753 Cruithne, 2002 AA29, 2003 YN107, 2004 GU9 and 2010 SO16. In 2002 the Earth temporarily captured J002E3 which turned out to be the third stage of Apollo 12 which had been discarded into solar orbit. After a few swings around the planet it was ejected into a new solar orbit.

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Force Google to black out searches in new privacy law - MPs

Mike Richards

The real problem we have is that the governing party is too ignorant of technology to see why this is a bad idea and a Labour Party still deeply in love with controlling everything we see and do. Between them they can see literally nothing wrong with this proposal.

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Sitting down all day is killing you

Mike Richards

Will standing at the bar save my life?

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Huawei banned from Australia’s NBN: reports

Mike Richards

Re: The China Syndrome again?

'Would you trust a Chinese company who's CEO, Ren Zhengfei was a Major in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) where he served as a military technologist to supply a national broadband network?'

The technological geniuses at BT thought Huawei were just splendid. And I'm sure they'd never do anything that would affect the security of their users.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/30/huawei_threat/

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Revealed: Google's SECRET London office

Mike Richards

Re: Dublin surely

Until now they've had a big office near Victoria Station, which if you're ever allowed in has to be the most terrifying place ever (and Lester's photos aren't too far off). Thousands of terrifyingly bright, terrifyingly young people sitting around doing stuff surrounded by old fashioned telephone boxes and beach furniture.

The food is great though. And if you're very well behaved you get goodies.

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Record-breaking laser pulse boosts fusion power hopes

Mike Richards

Re: "or do I err?"

'It's equivalent to 1000* the entire US electricity consumption but not for very long.'

EDF would still find a way of overcharging you.

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Mike Richards

I do hope there's a big lever labelled DANGER!, a Jacob's Ladder fizzing in the background and a hunchbacked assistant on call for when the head boffin says 'MORE POWER!'

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Hard-up Iceland plumps for cheaper open source

Mike Richards

Also a language issue

A lot of commercial software doesn't support Icelandic characters or dictionaries, so open source is one alternative for a country where words like 'haestaréttardómari' should come with a health warning.

There's also a bit of an urban myth about Icelandic Windows. The traditional word for a window is 'skjár'. Icelandic windows traditionally weren't made from expensive imported glass, but were usually stretched sheep's stomachs or placentas. Those of us who had a Vista machine, can fully understand the experience. Usually though, most people say 'Windows' and everyone else just nods.

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Medieval warming WAS global – new science contradicts IPCC

Mike Richards

Re: Don't feed the troll

If people read the paper (and it'd be interesting to know if Lewis did), the authors are much more hesitant about their results than this article makes out. They use the words 'tentative' and 'suggests' as well as being clear that they cannot precisely age all of the crystals.

It's a shame that Zunli Lu et al's work is being sensationalised by people who don't have a background in the subject to sharpen their own axes.

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Space probe in orbit above Mercury sees signs of polar ice

Mike Richards

Re: does this support Manual Olivers nova hypothesis ?

Not at all.

The inner planets are denser for two reasons - none of them are massive enough to hold on to hydrogen and helium atmospheres, and secondly because radiation from the Sun has either cooked off, or blown off a large proportion of their volatile elements.

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Watch a 747 refit in just 105 seconds

Mike Richards

And one for Virgin Atlantic's rather handsome new livery:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZAc2IOpBr4

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Horny VIKING MICE raped and pillaged Euro pipsqueaks

Mike Richards

Going out for a takeaway

There's some fascinating genetic research that's been done in Iceland on the origins of the settlers. Looking at mitochondrial DNA passed down through females, it is clear that 80%+ of the male settlers were Scandinavians, but anything up to 60% of the women who accompanied them were of British and Irish extraction. The suggestion being that settler's left the fjords, found themselves a wife in Britain and Ireland and then went to Iceland. There's also a small, but significant genetic component amongst Icelanders which is today only found in North American Indians, suggesting that there was prolonged contact (ahem) between the two cultures.

And from the article:

It was possible that Vikings landed on the coast of Canada, but any human settlements there died out.

The Vikings DID land on the coast of Canada, many times. There is a well preserved settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows on Newfoundland.

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Game files for administration

Mike Richards

Re: Happy?

With you on this one.

Many of the staff are genuinely knowledgeable about games, but the stores have been disastrously managed from the top. Every store has two huge two sections - one encouraging people to preorder and containing nothing but shelf after shelf of empty boxes of games that haven't been released yet. The other part of the store is pre-owned games piled up at random. A few shelves will contain the top ten games, cheap peripherals and precious little else.

Gamestation is marginally better, but all the stores have that teenager odour about them.

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'Now we understand what's required to explode a supernova' - NASA

Mike Richards

Dwarf conkers?

Sounds like an Olympic demonstration sport involving two small people dangling from Tower Bridge.

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Spider venom to be tested for pesticide potential

Mike Richards

Re: How easily we forget...

Anyone know if cane toads are immune to spider venom?

It'd be just our luck if Australia's unrivalled ecology of teeth, spines, venom and general fuck-you attitude had found its match in the one animal less cuddly than a funnel web spider.

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GiffGaff gaffe charity spaff to quell miffed riffraff

Mike Richards

Buy that man a drink

Bill, you did headline writers proud with that minor epic.

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So, what IS the worst film ever made?

Mike Richards

'War of the Worlds'

The Spieberg version

For numerous crimes including:

Starring Tom Cruise trying to be all serious

Regulation voice of god voiceover by Morgan Freeman

Setting it in modern America for no very good reason at all

Reusing a perfectly good scene from 'Jurassic Park' but with worse effects

Where no soldier dies on screen despite losing all the battles

The most slappable child actor in history (the boy)

Dakota 'MY EARS!' Fanning for two hours of dialogue that can be summarised as 'AAAAAAAAAAAAH"

A bloody horrible movie from start to its very protracted ending.

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FAA mulls scrapping in-flight iPad, Kindle ban

Mike Richards

Re: Wrong Angle

I thought the instruction to stow electronics was an attempt to reduce the number of heavy, hard objects that would be flying around the cabin in the event of an accident during approach or takeoff?

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Pope Benedict in .XXX pro-Islam cybersquat drama

Mike Richards

Which is the more disturbing thought?

Papal porn or Branson porn?

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LOHAN's fantastical flying truss menaces kiddies

Mike Richards

And think of the publicity

LOHAN drops truss, stuns children! See the shocking video.

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Russia plans manned moon shot by 2030

Mike Richards
Happy

Re: The race to the moon started when?

There most certainly was a race to the Moon. At one point the Soviets had three independent Moon programmes underway. They failed because they couldn't get the two best rocket designers to agree on a single design; and when the Politburo did decide on Korolev's N1, they skimped on the funding. Korolev couldn't build big engine chambers to rival those the Americans were designing for the Saturn V, so he used large numbers of smaller engines, making his design complex. Korolev didn't have the ground testing facilities to debug the individual stages of the N1, so it would have to be tested all-up. His tragically early death meant that when the N1 was completed under Mischin, it was a shambles. Four launches, all much later than planned, four failures.

The fallback was to use the Proton - Zond to get a manned capsule based on Soyuz around the Moon before Apollo could do so. The Proton wasn't reliable enough at the beginning and Zond also had serious technical issues - including re entering at crushing G forces and depressurising in flight. A number of Zonds were sent around the Moon, but they only ever carried biological samples.

After Apollo 11 the Soviets claimed to have never been planning a manner lunar mission, saying they could do it all with their Luna sample return missions and Lunokhod. In actuality the manned lunar programme limped on until something like 1975 when the repeated failures of the N1 gave the Soviets a chance to kill their plans in favour of their Salyut space stations and what would become Buran.

Although the N1 is long scrapped, the Soviet manned LK lander still exists and is now on display in Moscow.

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Supersonic silent biplane COMING SOON ...ish

Mike Richards

Seriously, is the supersonic bang that much of a problem for people? I lived under Concorde's flight path for my entire childhood and the Air France Concorde regularly passed over Cornwall at supersonic speeds (it wasn't meant to, but that's the French for you). Thump-THUMP, the windows might shake and that was it.

Most of the scares about the boom came from our ever sporting friends in America who suddenly became very concerned about the noise and pollution from SSTs right about the time they realised they couldn't get their own plane to fly.

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New NASA snap of game developer's electric cart FOUND ON MOON

Mike Richards

Lunokhod went further because it could be remote controlled by human drivers from Earth, which once they'd got used to the system were able to get it scooting along at a fair old speed. The Mars Rovers have to have every move preprogrammed from Earth. When they reach the end of their transit, they scan the area, the results are sent to the operators who then plan the next shift.

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TDK BA100 earphones

Mike Richards

Leakage?

How was it for people near you - could they hear the music?

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High Court confirms 'cheap DVD' tax loophole will close

Mike Richards

Original complaint

Didn't just come from the usual suspects, but from The Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/mar/15/vat-loophole-on-cds-closed?INTCMP=SRCH

It'd be nice if the taxman went after Beardie Branson et al. with the same amount of enthusiasm he's had for this case.

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Atmospheric CO2 set to SOAR from 0.0004 to 0.0007 - OECD

Mike Richards

Re: Several votes for Thorium

Thorium is considered the nuclear fuel of the future (and has been for about 40 years now) for a number of reasons.

Thorium ore is easy to extract and the most common form - monazite - is found as a heavy sand in and around rivers and beaches. It can literally be scooped up. There are several times as much thorium in the crust as uranium. It's also widely distributed so it doesn't have any economic bottlenecks (unlike the rare earths or lithium). There are enough known thorium reserves to last about 1000 years, without any new discoveries. In the US thorium is getting a real boost because America has by far the largest known reserves of the metal (followed by India - a fellow thorium booster).

It's pretty much pure Th-232 which when exposed to neutrons produces fissile U-233 without any of the unwanted isotopes of uranium (such as U-238 which is converted into plutonium in the reactor).

Because you can separate Th-232 from U-233 with relatively simple chemistry, the fuel cycle is simplified and there is much less actinide waste.

Thorium-breeder reactors will be simpler and cheaper to build than uranium-breeder reactors which use liquid metal cooling and have always been prone to leaks.

The downsides of thorium are that despite a lot of research, especially in India, no thorium reactor has yet been approved for mass production by regulators. The Indians have a 300MWe plant under construction which, *if* successful, will form the prototype for a fleet of power reactors.

The second issue with thorium power, which could kill it stone dead, is that U-233 is fast fissile and can be used in nuclear weapons. If thorium were to become a major energy source it does raise the proliferation risk - somehting that should be addressed now, rather than later.

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