* Posts by Mike Richards

3602 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

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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Mike Richards

Re: Heavyweight or just wrong?

That's not *quite* true - he'd be complaining it would have been better with an American ship.

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Startup slices solar panels using ion gun

Mike Richards

Probably not, the Reg has a spellchecker.

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Apple iPad sales slip as cheap Android tablet tsunami looms

Mike Richards

Where's the money?

Even with a reduced market share, Apple still has the high end pretty much to itself.

I wonder if the board of Apple ever play Scrooge McDuck and go and swim through oceans of dollar bills in their vaults?

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LOHAN's fantastical flying truss takes to the air

Mike Richards

Re: Exxxxxcellent news smithers

That's a great question - one other...

When will we get to see video of LOHAN and a donkey?

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Underwater Greek volcano brewing Lara Croft style earthquake

Mike Richards

Re: GPS underwater?

That's probably the submarine volcano Kolumbos to the NE of Santorini which is only about 15m beneath the surface. It's seismically extremely active, but hasn't had any known eruptions since the 17th Century - when it covered much of the surrounding area in ash and pumice.

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Mike Richards

Re: GPS underwater?

You're good. There are two islands in the caldera, all formed by resurgent vulcanism since the caldera was formed. They're Nea Kameni, Palea Kameni which translate as New Burnt and Old Burnt respectively. They've been intermittently active for about 2000 years with the last explosive eruption in 1939-40 followed by quiet dome building in 1950 (IIRC).

This sort of deformation isn't uncommon in calderas as magma is regularly injected into the underlying magma chamber and then withdrawn again. It may, or may not presage more vulcanism in the very near future. If you want a good example of one that scared people witless a while back, the small town of Pozzuoli west of Naples sits in the middle of the Campi Flegrei caldera which last had a minor eruption in 1538 when the completely new volcano Monte Nuovo popped up in the middle of some fields. Between 1982 and 1984 they experienced thousands of small quakes and the ground bulging by 40cm - at its peak the town was rising by 4mm per day! Unsurprisingly, there were predictions of an imminent eruption, so the town was evacuated. After a few tense months the ground began to deflate and the area returned to its usual levels of seismicity.

And Campi Flegrei is a real monster of a volcano, about 37kya it produced 200km3 of white hot foam that now underlies most of the Bay of Naples. About 2 million people live in and around it who might need to be evacuated in a hurry. And you've seen what Italian traffic is like on a good day.

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Game Group shares slide under a penny

Mike Richards

Re: Multiple Stores

In some cases it will be the lease is so long term that they can't close the store without incurring huge penalties from the leaseholder.

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New Yorker sues Apple: 'Misleading and deceptive' Siri ads

Mike Richards

Quick question

Are their any 4S owners here who can tell us whether they think Siri's performance is different from when they first got their new phones?

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PayPal slaps down Dr Who ‘charity book’

Mike Richards

You need a US address and formal US ID to run a Kickstarter project (anyone, anywhere can contribute to an existing project).

Kickstarter have been promising to open up to other countries for a couple of years now. First they blamed Amazon Payments for only being available in America, but that's no longer the case. They've even stopped giving updates of when they expect to offer Kickstarter in the rest of the world.

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Mass Effect 3

Mike Richards

Re: NOT the Matrix

Or even further back, Jack McDevitt's excellent novel 'The Engines of God'.

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MICRORAPTOR dino-pigeon lured mates with glowing feathers

Mike Richards

Iridescence isn't the same as luminescence (glowing).

But I still think velociraptors look wrong with feathers whatever the fossils say.

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Solar storm arrives, nobody notices

Mike Richards

Re: I just went ouside, looked up

That's Mars. It's quite brilliant at the moment. If you can get to a telescope it's well worth a squint.

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Flying Spaghetti Monster's works spotted in space

Mike Richards

Note to self: find how to reliably identify Venus/Mars/Jupiter in sky (I have no talent in astronomy, but I'm sure I'll be able to work it out).

There's an app for that ;)

If you want to go the old fashioned route. When Venus is visible it is always found relatively close to the Sun so it is best seen around sunrise or sunset. It is by far the brightest natural object in the sky apart from the Sun and the Moon and appears bright white. With a telescope or a pair of binoculars you might even be able to see the phases of the planet.

Jupiter is fainter and never shows phases.

Right now you can see Venus and Jupiter quite close together around sunset in the Western sky - they are both very bright. Venus is closer to the horizon than Jupiter. Meanwhile on the other side of the sky you can see Mars - it's very bright and in a region with few bright stars and distinctly reddish orange - even in built up areas.

HTH.

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Ten... stars of the Geneva Motor Show

Mike Richards

There was a new Maserati - everything else in the world is ugly and boring.

http://www.autoblog.com/2012/03/07/2012-maserati-granturismo-sport-geneva-2012/

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3D: 10% of LCD TVs in 2011, 25% in 2012

Mike Richards

Another stat would be useful

How much 3D content is being bought or rented? A good number of 3D Blu-Rays are on the market right now, it'd be interesting to know how their sales compare to conventional disks and how the trend is shaping up.

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Katie Price's teasing 'strapline reveal' avoids bust

Mike Richards

Is it just me

That finds: 'You’re not you when you’re hungry @snickersUk #hungry #spon ...' utterly unintelligible? It's not exactly Don Draper stuff is it?

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Why on Earth would you build a closed Android phone?

Mike Richards

Re: A maker who -

They're doomed.

But this is a great idea in a world of iPhone photocopies.

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Microsoft and Apple should hit Amazon, not Google

Mike Richards

Based on Goldman Sachs' previous form

They're probably taking positions to benefit from an Amazon stock collapse whilst publicly telling their clients to invest in the company.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldman_Sachs#Abacus_mortgage-backed_CDOs

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Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4

Mike Richards

Re: Struggling to see the point?

As other more knowledgeable folks have pointed out, this gives you a more efficient use of the diesel. Something similar has been used for locomotives since the 1930s.

Which makes me wonder - any chance of a diesel hydraulic car?

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Mike Richards

Re: Well at least it would be very economical,

Oh come on, it's far less ugly than that horrible kick-it-Kuga also on this site.

And both are positively delightful compared to the horror that is the BMW X6 - think coupe shape on a 4x4 chassis - go on Google it, I'll be here waiting…

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Eric Schmidt flicks INTERSTELLAR TOWEL at top tech fair

Mike Richards

Googlfrinchans

We should be very worried if the next generation of Google phones all come with a sachet of Triclosan.

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Boffins, tourists threaten Antarctica with alien invasion

Mike Richards

Science

There's a good scientific reason for not wanting tourists carrying seeds to Antarctica - because it spoils research into how nature colonises formerly barren areas.

A good comparison is with the Icelandic island of Surtsey which was formed between 1963 and 1967. The island and its surrounding waters are closed to the public and can only be accessed by accredited scientists who are performing a long term study of how the island is being colonised from a bare rock to one that now holds hundreds of different species.

Even then they have to take care about accidentally introducing new species, in one case a tomato plant sprouted on Surtsey; it had from a seed that had escaped from someone's lunch. Even though there was almost no risk of the plant fruiting in the shall we say - brisk - Icelandic summer, the plant was torn up and removed from Surtsey to avoid contamination.

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Robot NIGHTMARE sets new leggy-bot speed record

Mike Richards

Obviously

We have to get to work resurrecting dinosaurs immediately - packs of velociraptors are the only things that will be able ward off the killer robots.

There is literally nothing that can go wrong with this plan.

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China aims its most powerful rocket ever AT THE MOON

Mike Richards

Re: "NASA's mighty Saturn V [...] is capable of 3,400 metric tons."

The blueprints exist, the assembly facilities are still standing and the launchpads could be modified back to Saturn V spec - the only things the US lacks right now is a determination to get back into space and the money.

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Space FIREBALL over Blighty sparks hunt for rich meteorite

Mike Richards

"Our own origins are locked up in these pieces of rock. They are pristine material from the beginning of the solar system and hold the ingredients of life. "

That rather depends on the meteorite (if anything survives). Chondrites - especially the carbonaceous chondrites are almost pristine - only lacking some of the volatile elements with very early dates, and yes, they contain amino acids; but many other types of meteorite are mineralogically highly evolved with a large range of dates; eucrites from Vesta are over 200 My younger than most meteorites, whilst shergottites from Mars are as young as 180My.

If this chunk did hit the surface, there's not a huge chance of finding it; 90%+ of all known meteorites are stony, which to the untrained eye look like - well - stones. But good luck to anyone who does find a meteorite - just hope it's a pallasite:

http://www.arizonaskiesmeteorites.com/AZ_Skies_Links/Esquel/371gEsquel/

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Asteroid could SMASH INTO EARTH in 2040

Mike Richards

Re: Hypothetically speaking...

A rule of thumb for impacts is to take the size of the object and multiply by ten to get the size of the impact crater.

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Xeroxiraptor: Boffins to print 3D robot dinosaur

Mike Richards

I demand all other science (yes even LOHAN) is stopped this moment until robot dinosaurs are made real.

And can we scrap this silly 'scaled down' requirement?

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