3578 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007
Who'd have thought it
Too dumb to be allowed into LA.
You're not thinking big enough
Plutonium 239 produces 2W/kg in decay heat. A few hundred kilos of that should keep you nice and toasty and put an end to any problems with the neighbours just as soon as you declare yourself an independent nuclear state.
There are 87 tons of the stuff in the UK right now - we should be parcelling it up to help old people stay warm this winter.
I have so many good ideas.
'Remember it's not that long since scientists told us we were heading for a new ice age. They are now telling us that theory was wrong then so I don't propose to blindly trust them now.'
No they weren't - this is a myth.
It was only ever a small minority of climate scientists who thought the Earth was due to enter a period of cooling before the onset of another glacial episode. A short lived period of relative cooling in the 1970s wasn't well understood, but there was a theory that interglacials (such as the one we're going through) lasted about 10k years, and we were about 10k years into the Holocene interglacial - so the only way for temperatures to go was down and this might be the first sign of a new glacial advance. We now know that there is no such thing as a fixed length interglacial - they are much more irregular and tend to be much longer lived - this has now been resolved thanks to deep ice cores. We are now also much more aware how local cooling in the Pacific ocean can bring about cooler weather conditions across the globe over a period of years.
The majority of scientists were already warning that carbon emissions were forcing temperatures higher. There was no year from 1965 onwards where cooling predictions were more common than warming ones and they pretty much all stopped by 1977. The best summary of the research at the time:
Peterson, Thomas C.; William M. Connolley, and John Fleck (2008). "The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus". Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 89 (9): 1325–1337
The televisual deep throat also let on the mind-blowing factoid that Apple was going to release something that was 'very thin'.
Here's my stab-in-the-dark prediction for which I'm dropping the usual consultancy fee - it will also be very shiny.
I wonder if it also selectively allows H2O to pass, leaving the other side enriched in D2O? Put enough of them together and you could have a nice little heavy water plant.
'How much extra power would it take to dump the space garbage on the moon?'
To go to the Moon from the ISS, you'd have to accelerate from c. 7kms-1 low Earth orbit velocity to c. 11kms-1 in order to achieve escape velocity. So the short answer is: 'a lot'.
There are also complexities about choosing when you can go as the ISS's orbit is inclined with respect to that of the Earth-Moon system.
It's not an assumption, it's a fact. Not only did Apollo bring back pieces of meteorite in their samples, but impacts have actually been observed:
(and many more).
On Earth you can use shocked quartz to identify impact sites, but there's precious little quartz in lunar rocks.
Magnolia is so yesterday
Now it's 'taupe', or if you want to get on to the bleeding edge of theoretical interior design - 'oatmeal'.
Can you answer an advanced theological question?
Where do tealights fit into all this? The useless bloody things cast no useful amount of light or heat but appear to be needed by the skip load in order to achieve full domestic harmony.
It'll mean the all-British Daily Express will be able to reclaim pole position for purveyor of weird conspiracy theories and epic idiocy masquerading as news.
Is it the longest lived probe yet?
Pioneer 6 lasted 35 years until 2000, so Voyager is either about to, or already has exceeded this lifetime.
The early Cambrian must have been like some sort of ITV game show 'tonight only one family will be going through into the Ordovician, the others will be turned into coal. We asked 100 trilobites...'
Superficially it has some similarities to Crinoids which pop up in the Ordovician and were largely extinctified in the Permian. But this is a bilaterally symmetric beastie whereas crinoids (like other echinoderms) have five-fold symmetry.
The fossils in the article are amazing. I'd love to have one - but not quite as much as I'd like a tyrannosaur in the living room...
Anything you publish via iBooks is exclusive to Apple.
You didn't win the caption competition for Visit Australia did you?
Mars probes and microprocessors
The Russians really haven't had much luck with microchips to Mars. Both Mars 6 and Mars 7 returned huge amounts of garbage when they finally reached the planet because solar radiation had eaten their microprocessors.
Not that the software was much better; Fobos 1 received an untested software patch that resulted in it losing lock on the Sun and being unable to charge its batteries. Fobos 2's computer failed, but IIRC it was never determined if the error was hardware or software.
Mars is the only candidate for the various shergottites, nakhlites and chassignites that have been found.
Unlike almost all other meteorites (with the exception of the lunar meteorites) they don't date to 4.6Gya, they have been radio dated to between 1.3Gya and 0.18Gya implying they came from a planet that was geologically active until relatively recently.
Their mineralogy which is generally magic to ultramafic - similar to that of the Earth's Mantle, again suggesting their origin was a planet that has differentiated.
Gas trapped in glass inclusions in the shergottites have the exact isotopic ratios as that returned from Martian probes.
Finally, some of the meteorites contain minerals that are only formed by weather in wet conditions.
In short, Mars is the only candidate.
upgrading family cooking stoves (what, my Kenmore?)
You're off the hook - they're worried about people who have to burn wood, dung or kerosene in stoves or for lighting and heat. Most stoves in the developing world haven't changed in the last few thousand years and are very inefficient. They produce huge amounts of tiny particles that cause long term health problems. Producing a more efficient stove (of which plenty of simple, appropriate designs that can be built in the community that use them already exists) would help solve this problem, it would free up people's time as they would need to gather less fuel, improve their financial situation if they have to buy fuel and it would be good for the environment if fewer trees were hacked down for firewood.
If only we could do the same for the bloody goats that people think make great charity gifts when in fact they help desertification.
Russia also placed its last Mars probe - Mars 96 - in the Acific off the cast of Chile, do perhaps Fobos Grunt has gone to join its friend.
With any luck some of m'learned friends will soon be paid spectacularly well to do just that.
The US legal system, unlike DVDs, is multi region.
Not just because of physics, but nickel + hydrogen under very high pressures is a staple part of modern chemistry for making everything from margarine to hydrogenating coal. If copper was a result - even in very small quantities - it would poison the catalyst and this would have been recorded in the chemistry texts.
Not copying Ambilight is hardly surprising because as you say, it's patented to buggery (excuse my legalese), but it is odd that no one else in the telly market has experimented with 21:9 screens.
Sounds a bit like Fon
The Fon network from Fonera has a similar principle for WiFi. Fon charges a one-time fee for a small WiFi router. If you then choose to share some of your bandwidth (how much is up to you) with the public, you get free access to all other public Fon hotspots anywhere in the world. Of which there are a lot. The company also runs a revenue sharing model where you can get a share of any fees paid by people who buy a pass when they try to connect to your router.
When do you want him?
Obviously we'd be heart-broken to lose such a popular and charismatic minister, well known for his ideology-free, consensual approach; but perhaps it would be for the best if one more toxic reptile made its home in Australia.
The LEAF comes with a solar panel on the back spoiler as an optional extra. But that only gives 10W - just enough juice to charge the auxiliary 12V battery which powers the onboard computers and the lighting.
Bigger, more ferocious ants
Yes, that's precisely what we need more of.
If they want to play with extinct beasties can't they go back to their test tubes and rustle up a dinosaur?
According to Heisenberg's Law of Banking Practice if you you know HSBC's position with such accuracy it means that you can never know how much they're ripping you off.
See also Polaroid.
I was hunting for just that factoid.
A great machine, but responsible for a lot of problems that befell the industry. Commodore's cut-throat pricing killed off a lot of promising companies that didn't have the resources to last through a price war, they nearly destroyed Atari and left the company with no choice but to break up and sell off the fragments (including ironically to Tramiel). And finally Commodore killed Commodore - bargain basement prices meant that money was always short when it came to developing the next generation of computers.
But that said, it did give us Boulderdash. And Dropzone. And Paradroid. And Uridium...
The reason is...
It was on 'QI' a while back - a programme which has a slightly less rigorous fact-checking process than Conservapedia.
So yes Regers - we can blame Steven Fry!
Is nice, but again the interface needs work - nothing massive, just lots of little sillies that could be easily addressed - setting a season pass should be easier and the calendar that rolls back a whole day when you select 06:00 or earlier from a drop-down menu just being two of them.
And improving its stability should be crucial, a TV tuner should run days, weeks, months without ever needing to be restarted. I've found the latest few versions of EyeTV to be pretty unstable and have often come home hoping to spend a half hour in the company of the lovely (if possibly psychopathic) Monica on Masterchef, only to see the error window.
TiVo's user interface used to be wonderful as it was fantastically intuitive and uncluttered. More recently it has spawned more and more services and distracting animations so it's getting fairly unwieldy. Still ten times better than Sky's horrorshow however - and unimaginably better than the one shipped with Panasonic devices.
Where TiVo still scores is its intelligent season passes that hunt programmes down no matter how often the schedules change and it's 'I'll record this on the off chance...' feature which learns what you like and goes hunting for more stuff you're likely to like. Combine that with a few simple favourite actors, directors and the like and it'll save you a lot of frustration.
However, that functionality has been patented to buggery (my legalese) and repeatedly upheld in courts so it'll be interesting to see if Apple can come up with something similar or better.
I like it!
The only way that could be improved is if it could also cover the garden with six inches of concrete to save on future mowing related expenses.
Has the Lumia even launched in the US yet?
It's a shame if it fails, the phone is a nice piece of kit and the OS is excellent. Sadly Microsoft's bad smell has probably done for it.
Fleecing the vulnerable and desperate of their cash
Isn't that what Sky's for?
'Cock-up or conspiracy?'
With O2? Cock-up every time.
And the good news is
They'll only charge a little bit more for all this extra security. It sort of reminds me of Sony's myriad of MemoryStick formats which seemed to exist in equal measure to foist unwanted DRM on customers and to reduce even tech-savvy individuals to utter bewilderment. How has that gone down with consumers? On the strength of all the MemoryStick compliant devices that aren't out there, I'd say not at all.
Still, it sounds like the even more secure Secure Digital card is a good candidate for the most hilarious technological fail of 2012.
The best bit has to be the reversing doohicky with all the bendy lines that tell you where the car will be going is absolutely amazing.
The build quality is lovely and I like the interior, even if all that white is going to be troublesome for anyone with dogs, children or even new jeans. For a lot of people this will be the perfect car just as soon as the price comes down towards VW prices. And that will happen, this is new technology and production capacity is limited.
I like the future - I'll like it even more just as soon as it's Maserati shaped.
Depends in many things
It's very hard to narrow it down further. Rather than a simple orbit in a vacuum, the probe is now interacting with the Earth's atmosphere. The time of the actual re-entry will be governed by the attitude of the probe with respect to the atmosphere as that will affect the amount of drag it experiences. The other big factor is how active the Sun will be, the more active the Sun, the more it heats the atmosphere which expands and causes more drag. Skylab was the most famous victim of atmospheric heating.
Not quite right on US to Venus
The 1978 Pioneer-Venus Multiprobe mission was the only US Venus surface lander. All four subprobes landed on the surface after returning atmospheric data. One continued to return data after landing.
The Sony A35's big brother, the A77 is a monster and very enjoyable to use with 24 megapixels and 10fps shooting. Lots of toys such as 1080p video and GPS built in as well. Though it's currently rare as hen's teeth thanks to the Thai floods.
Meanwhile the two hangars at Cardington built for the R100 and R101 are in a shocking state of disrepair.
The islands of the Aegean show wild changes in sea level, but these are tectonic in origin as the southern Mediterranean is subducted under the Aegean. Many parts of Greece are being stretched and dragged under the waves, but towards Turkey you see islands pushing out of the ocean.
The Baltic is a better place to see isostasy in action. Lake Mälaren just West of Stockholm was a branch of the Baltic as recently as the Viking Age, today it is a freshwater lake linked to the ocean by the Riddarfjärden. Rebound continues at about 1cm per year which also means that the Stockholm Archipelago keeps growing new islands.
Nyergh... must comment
'The Earth is a big molten ball with scum floating on it, some parts thickier than others, as slow magma currents cause it to crinkle, not unlike the skin on boiled milk.'
As S-waves show, the Mantle is solid. If you drill a hole down through the Crust from almost anywhere on the Earth's surface the first liquid you will hit is in the Outer Core - and then you'll hit a geyser of molten iron.
It's much better to think of the Earth as being similar to a cold Mars Bar. The outside chocolate shell (the Crust) is brittle, below that is a caramel which is technically solid yet highly plastic layer (the Asthenosphere), below that is a solid layer of fudge which is still plastic (the Mantle proper). Bend the Mars Bar slowly and the Crust cracks, but the Asthenosphere and Mantle bend gradually. Hit it hard and they fracture.
Likewise the Mantle undergoes flow over the long term, but remains entirely solid.
Where this theory breaks down is that the Earth is much less delicious than a Mars Bar.
If you really want to see isostatic rebound in action, drive along Route 1 in Southern Iceland between Hveragerði and Vík í Mýrdal. The enormous cliffs on the left of the car are the old sea cliffs from about 10kya; the strip of land you're driving on is the old beach and the sea is anything up to 10km away on the right. Towards Reykjavik the calculations are that rebounds were anything up to 7cm PER YEAR in the immediate postglacial period which would put them amongst the fastest known.
Underwater Menace - oh dear
Why's it never Power of the Daleks or Web of Fear?
Yep, it's well and truly consigniaed.
I hope the telephone support staff are arranging a very special party for the person who okayed major changes to the Royal Mail's IT systems in the run-up to Christmas. You know the sort of party with bunting, balloons, a few stakes, rope and a very low tide...
Was it captured, or...
...did it defect?
Whats lifetime mean
My lifetime, the lifetime of the last person living in my cosy group, or an arbitrary period set by the publishers?
I don't think geologists are boffins.
They're a specialised type of waterproof scientist for whom every problem can be solved using a suitably large hammer.
Boffins need sheds.
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