* Posts by Mike Richards

3595 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

World population's appetite TO DOUBLE by 2050, boffin warns

Mike Richards

Nitrogen fertilisers

Those would be the ones made from fossil fuels whose prices are rising rapidly beyond the budgets of farmers in the developing world?

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Got a few minutes to help LOHAN suck?

Mike Richards

Submerge the whole thing in liquid hydrogen with the result that the air inside condenses in a moment. Fire the motor - with no moving parts or electronics there is literally nothing that can go wrong.

Post the video.

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Chief Rabbi: I admire Jobs and Apple and use my iPad daily

Mike Richards

Chief rabbi reversing...

If he backs up any more quickly he'll need to be fitted with a reversing signal.

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San Diego Baywatch rules out exploding dead whale

Mike Richards

Like that's a bad thing.

I get all my environmental credentials from the Michael Bay school.

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Mike Richards

Ignoring the '50-foot (15m) fish' error

It seems something of a wasted opportunity not to blow it up. How often do you get a massive target at a convenient beachside location just around the corner from the US Navy Pacific Fleet who own so much highly entertaining death tech?

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Huge US command-&-control airship gets quantum optics

Mike Richards

Actually it probably is hard to shoot down

Blimps don't simply POP! when shot, instead they gradually lose gas over a period of hours or days.

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Mike Richards

"... currently doing God’s work."

Agree with the previous poster.

And somehow I assume it's not the sort of God's work that revolves around cups of tea and jumble sales.

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UK nuclear: Walking into darkness with eyes screwed shut

Mike Richards

Decommissioning

The UK bill for decommissioning our existing reactor fleet is heading towards £70 billion (albeit spread over a long time), excluding the cost of a long-term repository which hasn't even been designed let alone planned. These costs have been driving up our power bills for quite some time now - something which Lewis forgot to mention.

And the cost of nuclear also has to include the liabilities taken on by the State as no private insurer will ever cover a nuclear plant.

Yes it's green power and we should have it, but let's have an honest pricing for nuclear electricity.

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Not so fast: Italian boffins say neutrinos not faster than light

Mike Richards

In the movies

Cerenkov radiation can either be simulated by:

a: a huge CGI budget and much pixel wrangling, or;

b: replacing the water on set with tonic water and shining UV light into the tank.

The quinine in the tonic water fluoresces blue under UV - et voila, you can have a cinematic radioactive catastrophe and cocktails.

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ePlods charge man, 60, with chick-lit MP Twitter threats

Mike Richards

'Rupert Murdoch botherer'?

Hardly. In a committee session dominated by pathetic questioning and lack of rigour, Mensch was by far the worst questioner. She could barely wait to finish her questions to the Murdochs so she could dash outside and breathlessly tell the press all that had happened.

The biggest thing about this story is that Louise Mensch is back in the news which will please Louise Mensch immensely.

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Microsoft tempts Kinect developers with bacon

Mike Richards

Actually

If it was real bacon* it would have converted to another religion on the spot.

* not the horrible deep-fried fat with the consistency of broken glass stuff the Americans insist on calling bacon.

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Mike Richards

Maple syrup on the other hand

Actually works well with real bacon.

God I'm hungry. Where's a Microsoft developers drive when you need one?

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No chance now to save Phobos-Grunt Mars mission

Mike Richards

Eh?

'Failing that, just getting the craft to land on Earth instead of crashing through the atmosphere could allow the agency to recover equipment from the ship and even readings from its instruments.'

Fobos-Grunt isn't equipped with a heat shield - how is that meant to happen?

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Couple rewarded for naming newborn after Elder Scrolls Skyrim hero

Mike Richards

If this child was given this name in Scandinavia

He probably couldn't get away with it in Sweden - or at least his parents couldn't. The Swedish tax authority (El Reg - passim) would probably block it. Norway has similar laws deliberately aimed at protecting the child from possible abuse because of their names.

I'm not sure about Denmark. Iceland (although not part of Scandinavia) has the strictest rules - you can only name your child from an approved list of suitably viking-sounding names.

And you can bet if you name your child after a hulking great viking hero he won't grow up to be a hulking great viking hero; he'll probably much prefer art, have asthma and be in touch with his feminine side. Which is great. But parents projecting their own fantasies on their kids - not great.

I predict either a name change in 16 years time, or a homicide (possibly in tribute to the game with a viking axe).

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Chief rabbi: Steve Jobs' Apple lust spreads misery, despair

Mike Richards

You'd have thought he'd have bigger things to worry about

As great pieces of rabbinical thinking go, this isn't one of them. I'd be happier if the Chief rabbi and his fellow priests of all faiths spent less time blaming one company for all the ills of the world and rather more time wondering what it is about religion that makes large numbers of believers think they are better people by humiliating, oppressing and killing those who don't share their entirely unsubstantiated beliefs.

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Pickles plans curry colleges to halt Indian immigration

Mike Richards

It takes a very special brand of genius to come up with this idea

We *could* spend our money ensuring kids have the skills to compete in a global marketplace dominated by high technology, engineering and manufacturing (like they are in - sayyyyy India). We could see if immigrant groups have equal access to education and training so that they could work in what's left of our economy; or we could just assume that people from the subcontinent and their children are happy to continue making curry.

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Hypersonic missile successfully hits Ronald Reagan

Mike Richards

'This does seem a bit odd as nobody panics when a Tomahawk cruise missile gets fired off'

Not really, unlike a ballistic missile the other side doesn't see the cruise missile pop up on their radar and have to make an instant decision whether they're watching the other side playing silly buggers or going to have to replan their weekend around the horrible flaming megadeath of humanity.

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Busted Russian Mars probe could go to Moon instead

Mike Richards

Is this thing being tracked at all

Are ground observers able to see Fobos at all? It'd be horrible luck if it has fired its engines for Mars after all and we're looking in the wrong place.

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Woomera: Ghosts of Britain's space past

Mike Richards

It's also rather freaky in flight

The exhaust is almost entirely invisible, so the photos of the Prospero launch make Black Arrow look like it was just hanging there:

http://www.britain-in-space.co.uk/info/pix-archive/black-arrow/gallery/blarrow03.jpg

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Mysterious sat-pic China desert markings - EXPLAINED

Mike Richards

Spy satellites

You should also add Israel, Japan and Russia to the list of countries operating spy satellites.

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Neutrinos still FASTER THAN LIGHT in second test

Mike Richards

Simple

The neutrinos are passing through solid rock between CERN and the observatory.

Light has issues with this.

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£1m 'Nobel prize of engineering' named after the Queen

Mike Richards

We have a worthy winner

I assume Lester is a shoo-in for the first prize in that he showed all the qualities of the very finest of British engineering - beer, creative thinking, bodging and more beer.

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Mike Richards

Image problem for engineers

In the UK an engineer is someone who fixes your washing machine, in Germany he is heralded by a magnificent Herr Doktor.

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US nuclear aircraft carrier George Bush crippled by toilet outages

Mike Richards

Alternatively...

...combined with the steam catapaults it'd make a fantastic new weapon against pirates

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DOOMSDAY 2012 MEGA VOLCANO 'UNLIKELY' - NASA

Mike Richards

Not really

Magma is sloshing around under Yellowstone, but there is no evidence that activity is trending upwards. Most of these big calderas see regular injections of magma from depth, followed by gradual withdrawals.

There was some worry a few years ago about a bulge under Yellowstone Lake which some people thought was due to magma rising towards the surface. In fact it is probably caused by hot water and gas rising up beneath the lake. It's not growing and not associated with any seismic activity. The biggest current risk in Yellowstone is a recurrence of the massive hydrothermal eruptions which have occurred in the last few thousand years (IIRC the latest has been provisionally dated to 1300 or so).

And its impossible to say what scale the activity in Yellowstone would be on, again caldera eruptions can be catastrophic, or they can be small scale eruptions of magma. A good example is in California where the mind-buggeringly big Long Valley caldera created a series of catastrophic eruptions around 760,000 years ago; but since then activity has been in the form of a series of smaller volcanoes at Mammoth Mountain and the Mono and Inyo Craters which wouldn't really be a threat to anyone.

The three big Yellowstone eruptions were 2.1 million, 1.3 million, and 640,000 years ago, so not exactly clockwork and there is no geologist who would ever say when an eruption will occur - only that one will occur at some point in the future.

Besides, why worry about Yellowstone when the Campi Flegrei caldera is only a 3 hour plane flight away; much more active and where the food is better?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phlegraean_Fields

But if you do ever get a chance to visit Yellowstone, take it, it is one of the most extraordinary places on Earth.

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Sharon Stone greets returning US troops ... with a web vid

Mike Richards

Not forgetting

Most of the troops weren't even born when Sharon Stone was actually famous. For most of the last twenty years she's been becoming increasingly bizarre going on fully unhinged. As the ever-wonderful Marina Hyde put it:

'In 2006, as Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon was slipping into a coma after a stroke, cinema's Sharon Stone was readying herself to prove that nymphomaniac ice-pick murderers and Middle East peace envoys need not be mutually exclusive.'

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Happy 40th birthday, Intel 4004!

Mike Richards

Shocking failure to abide by Reg guidelines

But that's the Americans for you, never using the same standard sauropod-derived measurements as the rest of us.

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US stealth bombers finally get nuke-nobbling super bomb

Mike Richards

Seems a bit of a lot of hard work

Centrifuge plants require a lot of power to work. Bomb the power plants if you can't get to the 'fuges themselves.

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Mike Richards

Alternatively

You can argue that the rebuilding of the Ruhr dams consumed so much material and manpower that it prevented the Germans from reinforcing the Atlantic Wall, and so made the Normandy landings possible.

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Army raygun to boost power with starlight de-twinkling tech

Mike Richards

That's a very cool lorry

But you just know that if the British Army ever get their hands on one the first thing they'll do is try and drive it under a low bridge.

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Enormous orbiting solar raygun power plants touted

Mike Richards

It doesn't seem to add up

As above. The Desertec project to produce 15% of Europe's energy from solar power in the Sahara is much less challenging and would produce cheaper power more quickly.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/nov/01/solar-power-sahara-europe-desertec

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UK broadband speeds crippled during 'rush hour'

Mike Richards

Clearly untrue

There's no crippling of connection speeds where I live - my broadband speed is pitiful round the clock.

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Mike Richards

Be

Although my connection speed sucks (thanks to BT's decision to lay phone cables along the most scenic route); Be are a great ISP and definitely the one to be with if you can't afford Zen.

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Voyager 2 finally agrees to a long hard thrust

Mike Richards

Obligatory NASA gee-whizzery

By the time Voyager 2 reached Neptune the strength of the radio signal received on Earth was already 1/20 billionth the power of that produced by a watch battery.

These machines are incredible.

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Mail Online is broken

Mike Richards

Mail website summary

Shock and outrage on the left. Slappers on the right.

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Sony to boost image sensor capacity... again

Mike Richards

Still problems downstream

Sony's main camera plant is currently underwater in Thailand and will be out of service for a few months yet. If you were planning on buying an Alpha, it might be worth heading to the shops now.

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Dud Mars probe's explosion will spare Earth's cities

Mike Richards

But

The British bit didn't work :(

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beagle_2

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The new touchy-feely Doctor Who trend: Worrying

Mike Richards

In its defence

The old show never gave us those twin wonders of Space and Time - Amy Pond and River Song.

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Mystery radioisotopes in Czech air are not from Fukushima

Mike Richards
Happy

Well

The Russians have recently finished their latest reactor in Kaliningrad, and if they've engineered it to their usual high standards it should be leaking quite nicely about now,

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Ten... best Blu-ray movies of 2011

Mike Richards

Tangled

I'd also add the criminally neglected 'Tangled' from Disney to the list - a beautiful transfer of a gorgeous looking movie.

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Sony develops 'new kind of television'

Mike Richards

"TV, record all the future episodes of The Simpsons"

That might run into conflict with some of the PVR patents awarded to TiVo and which have been upheld in the courts.

I'd just like it if Sony released TVs that were actually distinguishable from one another by more than the 22nd digit in an unmemorable product code. Fewer different TVs would help people pick one from the multitude.

Oh and don't make them so inflammable next time.

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Now Russians can't even contact their busted Mars probe

Mike Richards

Pedant alert

Mars 5 worked just fine, but it is a lousy record; especially when you compare it to their hugely successful Luna and Venera probes.

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Mike Richards

I think the right word for this is

Bugger!

They must also be concerned that the window for Mars is passing quickly. Leave it much longer and even if they can get Fobos to talk they won't have enough fuel to get there.

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European boffins on voyage of discovery to the Earth's core

Mike Richards
Paris Hilton

Understatement of the year

'We know even less about warm dense matter believed to exist in the core of larger planets'

That's a bit like calling the Blessed Paris merely 'warm and dense'.

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Another new Russian nuclear powerplant comes online

Mike Richards

VVER safety

Any news on whether the safety systems of the reactor have been brought up to basic standards? Most of the VVERs exported to India and China have had completely different safety systems (often Western) from those installed for the Russian reactors; and AFAIK none of the existing VVERs allow for passive cooling.

Not exactly just a theoretical question if previous Soviet operating regimes are anything to go on.

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Cheap gas is a 'crisis' for Greens, but not for us

Mike Richards

Shale gas

What's often ignored with any discussion of any gas is that it is rarely pure and needs to be sweetened before put into a pipeline. The two major acid gases in natural gas are hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide. Hydrogen sulfide is easily reduced to sulfur, but carbon dioxide is regularly vented into the atmosphere at the treatment plant. Injection back into the field can be done, but isn't widespread. So when you add the carbon dioxide that comes up with the gas to the carbon dioxide that is produced by burning it, the actual savings from burning gas often aren't as good as made out.

Overall, gas is a better fuel than coal and oil, but it probably isn't good for the long term health of the planet.

As for fracking, yep it can cause 'quakes. But generally not big ones.

A few large 'quakes have been linked to injection of fluid into wells (the most famous being in Colorado where nerve gas waste was being pumped into a deep reservoir). But most are small, just like the swarms going on at Hellisheiði right now where Reykjavik Energy are injecting water to bring new geothermal boreholes online. (It's the little cluster of yellow and orange dots near the centre-left of the map between Reykjavik and Þingvallavatn (the big lake)

http://en.vedur.is/earthquakes-and-volcanism/earthquakes/reykjanespeninsula/

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Mike Richards

EdF

It's not so long ago that EdF was the largest corporate debtor in the world despite having most of its nuclear costs either written off, transferred to the spreadsheets of the French government or simply ignored.

It must be easy to generate cheap power when you don't have to pay for anything.

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Lemmings

Mike Richards

No! No! No!

Not the music!

Argh - humming now.

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Mike Richards

Sony

There's a version of Lemmings for the PS3 available for download. It plays like a dog.

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Ryanair ponders in-air mucky movie service

Mike Richards

Sounds like bullshit to me

Surely there can't be enough room in a RyanAir seat to do the knuckle shuffle.

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